The wild cat was filmed lounging in someone’s front garden, leading a concerned neighbour to call the local authorities.
The caller said that residents were “starting to show up with guns,” according to local police, who also said the complainer reported the tiger was staring at people.
A video posted on Twitter showed a man pointing a gun at the big cat who walked towards him. No shots were ultimately fired in the 40-second footage.
The police stated that the caller said the tiger “had a collar around its neck” and was “looking aggressive”, according to reporting from The Houston Chronicle.
Police went on to say that an individual who is now considered to be a suspect drove by in a white Jeep Cherokee and took the tiger away before they arrived at the scene.
Tiger King, a Netflix documentary series, highlighted the phenomenon of wild cats being held in captivity in America. It believed that there as many in the US as there are in the wild as estimates show that 3,900 remain in the wild and 5,000 in captivity.
Journalist Yashar Ali shared the footage, quote-tweeting it with an urge for national action of keeping big cats.
“We need a federal law that bans any private ownership of big cats. I don’t think people realize how common it is.” He said on the microblogging site.
According to Refinery 29, currently, each state has their own regulations over the ownership of big cats. Nevada, Wisconsin, Alabama and North Carolina are considered to be the most liberal with their laws. These states permit exotic pet ownership as long as people acquire health certificates or import permits.
Oklahoma, the state home to Tiger King’s Joe Exotic and Carol Baskin’s big cat homes, is one of 14 states that allow big cat ownership with a permit scheme, meaning they need to inform the state authorities of their capacity to look after them, pay the cost and get special insurance.
With regards to Texas’ laws, it is not legal to keep a tiger as a pet. In May 2019, Brittany Garza was caught with an adult tiger named Rajah that she claimed she was sending to a more adequate home, but it took two years before she relocated him, according to ABC13 News.
There is a push to pass The Big Cat Act, which would prohibit having wild cats as pets and disallow members of the public to touch them.
It passed in the House of Representatives in December, however, it needs to make it through the Senate, where it was introduced a few weeks ago.