7 min read

Guy Breaks Into House To Smoke Weed — And Finds Someone Unexpected

He told police he thought he was hallucinating 😂

A man entered a vacant house in Houston, Texas, thinking it was the perfect place to smoke some marijuana, when he made a discovery so shocking he thought he was hallucinating. 

When he entered the garage, a young male tiger stared back at him through the bars of a flimsy cage.

Luckily, the man didn’t shrug off the helpless animal and made a phone call. However, when police learned why the caller had been trying to get into the house, they were a bit skeptical.

Young tiger found in garage of abandoned Houston home
BARC

"A concerned citizen called 311. They were trying to get into this house to smoke marijuana. We questioned them as to whether they were under the effects of the drugs or they actually saw a tiger,” Jason Alderete, a sergeant with Houston Police Department’s livestock animal cruelty unit, told ABC13.

Still unclear whether the caller was high, and guessing this was likely just a prank call, animal enforcement officers with BARC decided to follow up just in case.

A tiger found in a Houston, Texas home
BARC

“I wasn’t 100 percent sure that we would find a tiger since we receive multiple reports on a yearly basis of strange things that turn out to not be what the reportee stated,” Jarrad Mears, division manager for City of Houston Animal Enforcement with BARC, told The Dodo. “The tipster seemed to have firsthand working knowledge of the situation and spoke confidently about what they saw.”

When Mears arrived on the scene, the house showed all the telltale signs that a wild animal was trapped inside.

“[We] could hear a large animal moving around inside the garage,” Mears said. “I could also smell the familiar scent of a large cat, so that confirmed in my mind that there was indeed something inside that needed further investigating.”

BARC obtained a warrant to enter the house and, sure enough, a 300-pound tiger awaited them inside. The living situation was far from ideal for the large animal, and the tiger was grateful to see his rescuers.

“We were greeted by a medium-sized tiger inside a small cage, much too small for his size,” Mears said. “He was very friendly and began chuffing at us, which in ‘tiger-speak’ is a friendly greeting.”

“There was a really strong ammonia smell inside [from urine] so I’m sure that he was happy to have some fresh air,” Mears added.

Animal enforcement officials help the tiger
BARC

The tiger appeared to be well-fed but seemed thirsty, Mears noted. The officers gave him some water before removing the cage from the garage and transferring it to a livestock trailer.

“The animal was transported directly to our facility as we made calls to various organizations that specialize in tiger care,” Mears said. “Black Beauty Ranch in Murchison, Texas, called and told us that they had a place for him. We were so happy that this guy was going to find his forever home so quickly!”

While it’s not illegal to own a tiger in the state of Texas, according to BARC, being in possession of a captive tiger inside Houston’s city limits is, and an investigation is pending as to the origin and owner of the tiger.

Unfortunately, this tiger’s rescue is far from an isolated incident. An estimated 5,000 tigers live in captivity in the U.S., and there have been numerous incidents of tiger cubs smuggled across the Mexican border into California and Texas.

Tyson the tiger heads to his home at Black Beauty Ranch
BARC

Thanks to BARC and the Houston police department, the tiger will be able to live out the rest of his days in comfort. And Mears is grateful that he took the anonymous tipster at his word.

“The one thing I’ve learned in my 15 years of experience is to expect the unexpected,” Mears said. “I’m so happy to report that this guy is going to a place where he’ll be loved and receive the appropriate care and attention that he deserves.”

To help the tiger get the care he needs, you can make a donation to Black Beauty Ranch.

To support the Big Cat Public Safety Act, which aims to end future ownership of big cats by unqualified individuals, find out how to get involved with Texas Humane Lobby Day.