They thought they were hallucinating, but it was real: a tiger, alone in an abandoned house in Houston.
According to local news reports, a few people who went into a seemingly abandoned house in southeast Houston to smoke marijuana Monday night, and to their surprise, they found a 350-pound tiger in a "rinky-dink cage that could easily bust open," secured with nothing but a nylon strap and a screwdriver.
The tiger, which was dubbed "Tyson" inspired by the movie "The Hangover," was healthy and well-fed, and even had packages of meat nearby, according to officials. It was transported to an animal sanctuary, where it will have a five-acre habitat "pending a decision about permanent custody." There are three other tigers at the sanctuary along with 800 other animals.
=auto" width="100%" height="395" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozAllowFullScreen allow="autoplay *; fullscreen *; encrypted-media *" frameborder="0"]
According to the Houston Chronicle, Texas is widely believed to have the world's second-largest tiger population behind India. Some estimates put the Texas tiger population around 2,000, though much of the tiger population is unreported. It's legal to own a tiger in Texas with the right permits, but Houston is among some of the state's larger metro areas where it's illegal to keep tigers as pets. According to a Texas lawyer, it's relatively easy to obtain the permit to keep a tiger: all you have to do is prove you can "properly cage and provide for" the animal.
In the United States, 21 states ban dangerous exotic pets entirely while four states have absolutely no laws regarding dangerous wild animals: Alabama, Nevada, North Carolina and Wisconsin. The remainder of the country has varying laws state-by-state regarding certain species or special permits.