A tiger was spotted roaming around a Houston neighborhood Sunday, terrifying neighbors and passersby, the Houston Police Department told NBC News.
The tiger was seen wearing a collar and prowling around outside of a home when an off-duty sheriff's deputy encountered the wildcat, seemingly in response to sightings from neighbors.
The encounter was caught on video by a neighbor, according to local NBC affiliate KPRC. In the video, the sheriff's deputy can be seen pointing a gun at the tiger as the animal slowly walks toward him. Then, an unidentified man is seen luring the tiger back onto his property and into the house. Witnesses said the man was pleading with the deputy not to shoot, according to KPRC.
“He came up to the tiger himself and leaned down and kissed the tiger, and then took him by his collar,” an on-looking neighbor told KPRC.
It is unclear if this man is the owner of the tiger, and it has not been determined whether the apparent owner of the animal will face any charges. No one was hurt during the encounter.
Tigers are not allowed in the city of Houston, but they are legal in the surrounding Harris County if properly registered under a strict set of rules and safety guidelines, including holding $100,000 in animal insurance and keeping the tiger secured at least 1,000 feet from another home, school or child care facility.
The sheriff's deputy that encountered the tiger made a call to the Houston Police Department during the incident to alert them, but by the time police arrived, witnesses said the tiger had been taken away, said the Houston Police Department.
Texas law does allow the private ownership of tigers and other “dangerous wild animals,” but applicants must register with their sheriff and file paperwork with the state as well as follow strict caging requirements.