In response to the recent discovery of a tiger found roaming in a Houston neighborhood, the Humane Society of the United States urged an end to the big cat pet trade. Private ownership of big cats has been a growing problem over the past decade and was cast into intense public scrutiny by the Netflix documentary “Tiger King.”  

This latest known case of a “pet” tiger being kept in unsafe conditions or roaming loose is the third such incident in Texas in the past two years.

A young tiger named Elsa, found wearing a harness much like those used for pet cats and dogs, was found earlier this year in a freezing yard in Bexar County. She is now safe at our Black Beauty Ranch. Another abandoned tiger was found in 2019, trapped in a cage too small for him inside an abandoned house in Houston. Now named Loki, he too has found a permanent home at Black Beauty Ranch. 

Texas has a history of stalled legislation to address this issue; currently, it’s still legal in much of Texas for private citizens to own dangerous wild animals. This frequently leaves the animals in inhumane conditions and can be a genuine danger to the public.

Statements relating to the latest incident:   

Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, said:

“We cannot have dangerous wild animals roaming neighborhoods or living in people’s homes. The big cat pet trade must end. Forcing these wild animals to live under such conditions is inhumane and a real public safety risk. Situations like this are why we are working to pass federal legislation. The Big Cat Public Safety Act would prohibit keeping big cats as pets.”

Sara Amundson, president of Humane Society Legislative Fund, said:

“The American public is waking up to how commonplace it is for people to keep big cats as pets, and to the role of cub petting in generating the large numbers of these animals in our midst. That’s why the National Sheriffs’ Association, the Fraternal Order of Police, the Small & Rural Law Enforcement Executive Association and almost 70 other law enforcement organizations and professionals, zoos, animal sanctuaries and animal welfare organizations have endorsed the federal Big Cat Public Safety Act.”

Noelle Almrud, senior director of Black Beauty Ranch, said:

“We are happy that Loki and Elsa are now in such good hands here and that we are able to give them a forever, safe, natural home at our sanctuary. Both are thriving with proper space, diet and enrichment to give them the lives they deserve, with the opportunity to walk on grass, swim and climb. It is important that we work toward the day when tigers are no longer born into the cruel captive pet trade to suffer at the hands of irresponsible people who have no idea how to care for a wild predator.”

Lauren Loney, Texas state director for the Humane Society of the United States, said:

“Yet another dangerous wild animal is apparently on the loose in Houston. This inhumane treatment of animals and the public safety risks created by the surplus of tigers in Texas must end. Each year, in the United States, countless tigers and other exotic animals are bred for the pet trade and are readily available to anyone who wants to buy one. We are working to secure passage of the Big Cat Public Safety Act in Congress, which would ban the possession of big cat species like tigers and lions as pets and prohibit their exploitation by facilities that allow public contact with big cats. The bill passed the House in the last Congress with a wide majority of members voting for it, and it has been reintroduced in the House and Senate this Congress.” 

Since 1990, there have been at least 404 dangerous incidents involving captive big cats in the U.S. These incidents have resulted in the deaths of 19 adults and five children, as well as 300 injuries. 

Since 1990, there have been 39 dangerous incidents involving captive big cats in Texas alone. These incidents have resulted in the deaths of two children and 28 total injuries. 

Download Photos and Video of Loki

Download Photos and Video of Elsa

Media Contacts