HOUSTON - The woman accused of housing tigers and other exotic animals in her northwest Harris County home was back in court Friday morning and she spoke with KPRC 2 News.
Trisha Meyer is charged with theft and child endangerment. Police in Pahrump, Nevada, arrested her Nov. 7, and she was recently extradited to Harris County.
Meyer said that two months ago police knocked on her door and asked if they could see her tiger. She said they were excited to see the animal and took pictures with it.
"The Houston police took selfies with my tiger, they handed me their cell phones and were asking me to take their pictures. Knelt down on their knees in front of my tiger, posing with my tiger," Meyer told KPRC 2 on Friday.
Meyer said she only had one tiger there at the time, and it was caged in the garage. All of the animals, the fox, monkeys, raccoon, and skunk were caged, not running around like originally reported, she said. She claims it wasn't until some of the officers asked to let some of the animals out of their cages that they were loose.
"Multiple police officers kept showing up and knocking on the door asking could they come in and meet the tiger. Saying, 'Hey,' laughing like it was a joke, saying, 'Heard you got a tiger in here,' Meyer said. "(They were) Shaking my hand, being as nice as could be. It was never what has now been portrayed on the media."
According to Meyer, the charges of child endangerment came out of no where.
"Fifteen police were at that house that night. They did not seize the animals. This is in September. They did not take the child," Meyer's attorney Penny Wymyczak said. "They did not report her to CPS. The police left the animals there. They left the child there for two months, and then they charge her. It's absurd."
Meyer said her daughter was never in danger, but prosecutors think otherwise.
"On her own social media page she has pictures of her daughters with the animals. You know, roaming around the house like they were regular house animals," prosecutor Chauntelle Wood said.
Police investigated Meyer on Sept. 26 at her home in the 11000 block of Cypresswood Drive. Houston police officers said they were sent to investigate Meyer's home after she tried selling a kitten to a man in California for $3,000 but never gave him the kitten after receiving the money.
Officers said several wild animals were loose inside her home, including three tigers, a cougar, a skunk and a fox. They also said Meyer's 14-year-old daughter was in the home at the time.
Meyer told police she had several monkeys, which can be vicious and had attacked someone previously, police said.
Police said she had permits for the tigers, but none for the skunks and foxes.
"For the child endangerment, she had in possession, tigers, one being a very larger tiger, she had a fox, raccoon... in her home. Sometimes they were caged, sometimes they weren't caged, and they were around her daughter," prosecutor Chauntelle Wood said Friday.
Meyer is accused of keeping three tigers in the backyard, as well as eight monkeys inside a her home in Nevada.
The tigers were feeding on raw chicken, according to police. The backyard was contained by a 4-foot tall fence. A 17-year-old was supervising the feeding tigers, police said.
After her court appearance Friday, Meyer spoke with Channel 2 reporter Janelle Bludau about how much the case has affected her life.
Meyer is due back in court Monday.