HOUSTON – Famed “Tiger King” documentary star Carole Baskin went 1-on-1 with KPRC 2 reporter Courtney Zubowski in talking about the tiger from Houston that’s getting national attention.
The Bengal Tiger was probably six months old and about 150 pounds, according to Baskin.
“I felt so bad for this cat,” Baskin said. “It had probably never been free in its entire life.”
“You know who really surprised me in that video clip was the officer,” she added. “He shows so much restraint.”
Watch: This is what Baskin said people should do if they ever encounter a tiger:
Victor Cuevas was seen on a cellphone video over the weekend kissing the cat on the head before straddling the animal and leading it into a house.
“I think he definitely believed he had a relationship with that cat that would allow him to do that and not be killed,” Baskin said.
Watch: Here’s what Baskin could tell about the Houston tiger from looking at the video:
Texas requires a permit to sell, buy or possess exotic animals like Bengal Tigers. Cities and counties can add their own restrictions.
Houston does not allow ownership of exotic animals outside of a nationally accredited zoo.
Harris and Montgomery County allow private ownership of a long list of wild animals, including tigers, with certain restrictions. Galveston and Fort Bend Counties do not give out permits to own tigers and other wild animals.
Baskin supports a federal ban on private ownership of big cats.
“Every state has different laws and in Texas, they have left it up to individual counties (and cities) so no one is coming up with good rules or good laws,” she said.
“Never pay to see a cub on display, or to pet one, never give props to someone posting a picture like that to any of the social media channels,” she added. “Because that’s what’s driving this kind of abuse.”
Baskin said tigers cannot be raised inside homes. They’re loud and they destroy.
“There’s not going to be a couch that doesn’t have the stuffing pulled out of it,” she said. “There’s not going to be drapes on the walls, there’s not going to be any of that with a big cat in the house.”
“There’s no way to hide a tiger,” she added. “People are going to hear it, they’re very loud. Their roars can carry for five miles.”
Watch the full version of Carole Baskin’s interview with KPRC 2: