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Man arrested after tiger shown in a yard of his Houston home

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Posted at 11:48 AM, May 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-11 15:03:03-04

HOUSTON (AP) — A Texas man who had been free on bond from a murder charge has been arrested after neighbors found a pet tiger wandering around a Houston neighborhood.

Houston police tweeted that 26-year-old Victor Hugo Cuevas was taken into custody Monday night, charged with felony evading arrest.

Police had said they believed the tiger had belonged to Cuevas, but his attorney Michael W. Elliott denied that the cat belonged to him or that it was in his care.

Police said the tiger's whereabouts are not known.

Police say that Cuevas returned the tiger to his house, then drove it away as officers arrived.

On Sunday, a video of the encounter showed an armed off-duty Waller County sheriff’s deputy coming face-to-face with the tiger, The Associated Press reported.

Cuevas was charged with murder for the fatal shooting of a man in Fort Bend County outside a restaurant in 2017. Elliott said his client acted in self-defense and is innocent of the murder charge.

When police searched Cuevas' home, they also apparently found two monkeys.

According to The AP, having a monkey in Houston is not illegal as long as it weighs under 30 pounds.

Tigers are not permitted in Houston city limits unless the owner is licensed to have exotic animals.

There is no statewide law forbidding private ownership of tigers and other exotic animals, The AP reported.