By Staff

HARRIS COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) — There’s a hunt underway for a tiger last seen in a Houston neighborhood and the man who was last spotted with the animal is in custody.

Police say Victor Cuevas is no stranger to law enforcement. The 28-year old was out on bond on an unrelated murder charge when police say he led them on a chase — with the tiger in tow.

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(credit: Houston Police Department)

It was over the weekend when neighbors saw the exotic animal outside their homes near Highway 6 and Memorial. Video shot from inside a home shows the animal coming face-to-face with an armed off-duty Waller County sheriff’s deputy. During the incident, the deputy can be heard yelling at Cuevas to get the animal back inside.

Houston police said when officers arrived, Cuevas put the animal in an SUV and drove away. Authorities caught up with Cuevas later and took him into custody, but so far he’s only facing a charge for evading police.

The attorney representing Cuevas, Michael Elliott, says  not this client is not the tiger’s owner — but he knows who is.

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Elliott said, “I understand that a lot of people are interested in what’s going to happen with the tiger and what’s going on, but in this case HPD was in such a hurry to wrap it up [and] confine their guy that they just assumed because my client was the one who caught this tiger, who went out and got it and brought it back in to safety, that everyone is just assuming that he’s the owner of the tiger, that it’s his tiger.”

(credit: Maria Torres)

Cuevas has had several ‘encounters’ with wild animals in Texas — all documented on social media.

Authorities say their focus is on finding the tiger before it or someone is harmed.

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And if the headline about a tiger in Houston sounds familiar that’s because it was at about this time two years ago when a tiger was found inside a vacant home. The owner in that case was charged with animal cruelty, but she claimed she’d raised the tiger since it was a cub and was in the process of moving it to an animal sanctuary. That tiger is now living at Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch — just west of Tyler. Staff