SAN ANTONIO, Texas (KXAN) — Deputies in Bexar County seized a 13-week-old tiger cub and a bobcat Tuesday from a home in a San Antonio neighborhood.
Deputies responded to the house at 3114 Shane Road in south San Antonio. Sheriff Javier Salazar told reporters during a news conference that the bobcat roamed around a couple’s house freely.
He said deputies discovered the tiger cub after seeing its paws sticking out under a closed door.
Salazar said his office is seeing more cases involving exotic animals, and he specifically cited the Netflix docuseries “Tiger King” for spurring the trend.
“It’s just like when ‘101 Dalmatians’ came out. Everybody wanted a Dalmatian,” Salazar said. “Now people are seeing this on Netflix, ‘Oh, wow. How cute! Look at that tiny tiger cub.’ Well, it’s going to be a 500-pound tiger overnight and so people need to use their brain and realize not only is it dangerous, not only is it extremely irresponsible. It’s illegal. We’re going to come out and seize the animal.”
The sheriff indicated an arrest had been made related to this case, but he did not identify the suspect or share what the charges are at this time.
He also said he is talking with a state lawmaker to pursue legislation that curtails exotic animal breeding as well as possession.
In response to this news, Texas State Director for the Humane Society of the United States Laura Loney released a statement supporting legislation to end private possession of big cats in Texas.
“When big cats are kept as pets, it is a threat to public health and safety and animal welfare,” Loney said. “People have been injured and killed by tigers kept in captivity, and these animals frequently suffer from life confined to a cage, improper diets, lack of proper veterinary care and physical abuse.”
Loney said this is part of a disturbing epidemic in Texas. There was another tiger seized in San Antonio last month during the winter storms.
The Humane Society says they are working to secure passage of the Big Cat Public Safety Act in Congress, which would “ban the possession of big cat species like tigers and lions by unqualified individuals and prohibit their exploitation by facilities that allow public contact with big cats.”
According to a release from the Humane Society, there is no federal law or regulation determining who can possess big cats or other wild animals.