Man on bail for murder arrested after pet tiger escapes Houston home

The hunt for the Bengal tiger spotted roaming a West Houston neighborhood is still on, despite the arrest of Victor Hugo Cuevas.

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A 28-year-old man was taken into custody after a Bengal tiger reportedly kept as a pet was spotted roaming a West Houston neighborhood. The hunt for the tiger, however, is still on.

Victor Hugo Cuevas was arrested for felony evading arrest at his mother’s house Monday after he drove off with the tiger in his Jeep when police stopped him to question him about the exotic pet. 

The hunt for this Bengal tiger spotted roaming a West Houston neighborhood is still on, despite the arrest of Victor Hugo Cuevas. (ABC)

“The owner put the tiger in a white SUV and drove off from the scene, there was a brief pursuit, and the man got away with the tiger,” Houston Police Department Commander Ron Borza, who focuses on animal abuse cases, told ABC 7

Cuevas is currently out on a $125,000 bond, awaiting trial after being accused of shooting and killing a man in July 2017.

The man’s lawyer said Cuevas is not the tiger’s owner but knows who is. He said his client was arrested just before he was planning to turn himself in. 

“There’s a lot of misunderstandings and miscommunications, and a lot of things put out there falsely that’s very troubling,” attorney Michael Elliott said. “First off, The Houston Police Department here. I know they’re trying to do their job. Everyone wants to know about the tiger and its safety. Make no mistake, there’s no crime of having a tiger in the state of Texas.”

There is an ordinance in the city of Houston against having a pet tiger, but it is not criminal. 

Borza said he is focused on finding the exotic animal “because what I don’t want him to do is harm the tiger. We have plenty of places where we can take the tiger and he can spend the rest of his life.”

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Houston Police tweeted yesterday that Cuevas was being charged with “felony evading arrest for fleeing from HPD patrol officers.” They later updated the post, saying Cuevas was in custody. “The whereabouts of the tiger are not yet known.” 

A neighbor said Cuevas and his girlfriend are quiet and noticed they have some exotic pets, including a capuchin monkey. However, he said, he never suspected there was a tiger in the home.

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