A tiger that had been seen wandering around a Houston neighborhood on Monday has been found, Houston police said Saturday. The tiger, named India, appears to be unharmed, police said.
Victor Cuevas, 26, is currently in police custody after he allegedly fled from police with the tiger earlier in the week. Cuevas had previously been out on bond for a separate murder charge from 2017.
Houston Police Department Commander Ron Borza on Saturday identified Georgie “Gia” Cuevas as Cuevas’ wife and India’s owner. Borza said a friend of Gia Cuevas’ tipped off police about the tiger’s location around noon Saturday. Gia Cuevas then surrendered the tiger to police.
Borza said that while police are not sure where exactly India was all week, “Gia knew where the tiger was at all times.” He said that India had been in the custody of multiple people between Tuesday and Saturday night.
Cuevas’ lawyer, Michael Elliott, has claimed multiple times, including at a Friday bond hearing, that his client is not India’s owner, CBS affiliate KHOU-TV reports. Borza, however, said that police believe he owns the tiger with his wife.
“That’s what I was told by her, and she’s the wife of Victor, and she says they’ve had that animal for nine months,” Borza said.
After India was handed over to police, Elliot again on Saturday said the tiger does not belong to Cuevas, but said that it “spent a lot of time with Victor.”
“Victor took after this cat a lot. Cared for it. Loved it. And it’s back in a good place, now,” Elliot said. He added, “I think it’s a reasonable assumption that Victor had been a part of this cat’s life since it was a little cub.”
Gia Cuevas is not currently facing any charges, Borza said, but he said the investigation is ongoing. Borza also noted it is illegal to own a tiger in the city of Houston.
“I didn’t go into any specifics with her,” he said. “We can do that at a later time. We can always call her and bring her to HPD and talk to her more if we need to.”
Meanwhile, Cuevas’ original bond was revoked and a new bond of $300,000 was set on Friday, KHOU reports. Cuevas will remain in custody until he posts the new bond.
Earlier on Saturday, HPD tweeted a video of Borza and Gia Cuevas with India after the tiger had been handed over to police.
HPD Major Offenders Commander Ron Borza is relieved “India” the 🐅 is now safe: https://t.co/3w2CZznKu9 pic.twitter.com/RiNviPFzq3
Borza said India will be taken to the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch sanctuary on Sunday morning.
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