A tiger was seen wandering around a Texas residential neighborhood.
Jonathan Gessner and Erin Poole of Conroe, Texas, spotted a female tiger running through their neighborhood.
“I see something run into the bushes, it was really big,” Poole told KHOU. “And Jonathan hopped out of the car and was like, ‘I’m gonna catch it.’”
Gessner noticed the leash, so he attempted to get hold of the animal. The tiger was reportedly friendly, so Gessner reportedly began to play with it.
“I just walked up to it and it ran up to me and started kissing me in the face and licking me,” Gessner said.
According to authorities, the unexpected animal had both a leash and a collar, but no name tag.
"I'm thinking it's going to be a normal house cat," said Mindi Mayfield with Conroe Animal Control. "And I get out there and it's a tiger,"
The department posted a photo of the tiger on Facebook and asked the public for help in locating the owner.
Less than a day later, the department finally figured out where the animal came from. Due to intense flooding, the tiger was evacuated from a Harris County rescue farm, as reported by CNN. The feline’s handler allegedly gave it to someone in the city who was not prepared to lodge such a large animal, which led to its escape.
"Her name is Nala,” explained a man who identified himself as Cody to KTRK. “She's very nice. She's a four- to five-month-old tiger.”
Cody said Nala’s ownership is uncertain at the moment.
"We dropped her off at a friend's and I don't really know how she got out," Cody said.
Although tigers are classified as “dangerous wild animal[s]” according to the state’s Health and Safety Code, there is no law against owning a tiger as a pet in Texas, as noted by KXAN. However, KHOU reported that it is against city ordinances to house a wild animal in Conroe.
“It seems to be a tame animal, seems very playful and friendly,” said Sgt. Dorcy McGinnis with the Conroe Police Department. “It is a very strong animal. It definitely would not be appropriate here in the City of Conroe.”