'How do you even get a pet tiger?' Here's the 311 call that led to one being found

By Aaron Barker - Senior Digital Editor

HOUSTON - It was a call to Houston’s non-emergency line that led to the discovery of a tiger in an abandoned house Monday, and officials have released a transcript of that call.

According to Houston police, the 400-pound male tiger was found about a week ago by a woman who had gone to the vacant Avenue J home to smoke marijuana. She waited to call authorities because she thought she was hallucinating when she saw the tiger.

In the transcript of the 311 call that was released Wednesday, the marijuana is not mentioned. However, it’s clear that the caller is very concerned about the tiger’s wellbeing.

Operator: "Thank you for calling Houston 311 helpline this is (operator's name) 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."

Operator: "What is the address?"

Caller: "Um, the address is 9415 E. Avenue J, Houston, Texas, 77012."

Operator: "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. He has it in a cage. I don't know how he moved it there. I don't know how he even got it in there. But, yeah, it is there and, like, the (inaudible), and it's, like, in a small cage. It's pretty big, though. It’s not even a baby tiger, like, it's pretty big. But, I was wondering, is this going to be like an anonymous call?"

Operator: "Hold on just a moment."

Break in the call

Operator: "Ma’am, thank you for holding. We are going to take the report as anonymous. Our system is going to be anonymous. I'm not going to put your name on the report or anything like that. But I did speak to my manager, and they would at least like to a phone number on their side so they can contact you if they need to."

Caller: "Yeah. That's fine."

Operator: "But I'm not going to put it on the report, so they can't link it back to you."

Caller: "Oh! OK. Thank you."

Operator: "What's your phone number?"

Caller: (redacted)

Operator: "And you're, OK. That's all I need. I don't need a name."

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."

Operator: "So if we go there, the house just looks like it's vacant right?" 

Caller: "Yeah. It’s, like, run down. It kind of looks like a crack house, I would say. It kind of looks like that, but if it's anything, maybe, the neighbors might have heard something because it makes noise. And he does have it in a little cage in a back room in the back of the house on the left side.

Operator: "OK. I've gone ahead and made that report. The report is going to be (redacted)."

Caller: "OK. Thank you."

Officials said they will not release the audio of the call to protect the caller’s identity.

The tiger has since been moved to its new home at the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch in Murchison.

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