HOUSTON – It’s the 311 call you’ll hear only on KPRC2. We obtained the call through a Public Information Act request to the City of Houston. The woman who made the call back in February to report an illegal tiger at a southeast Houston home tells KPRC2 she wants to remain anonymous.
Her voice was altered in the recordings to protect her identity.
311: "Thank you for calling Houston 311 help line, this is (redacted), can I help you?"
Caller: "Hi, I was just wondering, if I have, like, uh, somebody who I know who has a pet tiger in their house and I was just wondering if I could, like, make an anonymous call for that, to get that tiger safe."
The 311 call sparked national interest. The woman reported a 400-pound tiger in a 4-by-8 cage in the garage of a home in the 4800 block of East Avenue J in southeast Houston. Even the 311 operator seemed stunned about what she was hearing.
311: "How do you even get a pet tiger?"
Caller: "That's what I'm saying, because I’m not lying about this, I swear, but, uh, so, I was with one of my friends, and we met this guy who knows this guy and, like, and he was like, 'Oh, I need to go to my house to feed my tiger,' and he's like, I guess he sells (inaudible) 'cause he has money like that, but, uh, he took us to the house. The house is, like, abandoned. Like, he's fixing it up right now, but he has the tiger in there."
KPRC2 has not been able to figure out who “he” is, even after speaking with the tipster by phone, but Houston police have identified the owner of the big cat as Brittany Garza. Officers said she refused to tell investigators how she got the male tiger.
Probable cause documents filed in Harris County Justice of the Peace Court, Precinct 6, detail how the tiger was neglected. It was found lying in its own waste without food, light or water, according to the document. Even the tipster described the poor state of the house.
Caller: "It has a gate, like, in front of it. And, um, I think there might be a few trucks out there. But no one is there for sure. No one lives in the house. It's just run down."
BARC was granted full custody of the tiger by a judge. The Cleveland Armory Black Beauty Ranch told KPRC2 the tiger is happy at his new home in Murchison, Texas.
The Harris County District Attorney’s Office will decide whether Garza will face charges for illegally owning the male tiger.