The ex-owner of a tiger rescued from a filthy cage in an abandoned house in Houston has been charged with animal cruelty. The tiger was found in February by people entering the house to smoke marijuana.
Houston police Wednesday arrested 24-year-old Brittany Garza on the misdemeanor count involving a non-livestock animal. She's free on $100 bond. An attorney for Garza, Jay Cohen, declined comment Thursday.
"I’m willing to face them (charges), but I don't see any type of animal cruelty that was done," Garza told KPRC-TV. "He’s always had food (and) water."
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Garza said she bottle fed and raised the tiger she named Raja, and that it was never abandoned. Garza has not contested the seizure and relocation of the big cat.
The Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch in Murchison has cared for the 350-pound tiger since it was found in February.
A judge in April ruled the sanctuary, located 70 miles southeast of Dallas, can keep the tiger and that Garza must pay nearly $12,000 for the animal's care. Garza just wants workers to keep the name.
"This tiger has been with us since February and he does not recognize the name 'Raja,'" officials said in a written statement to KPRC. "A wild animal should not have to live in captivity at all but we are happy to step in and assume the responsibilities of caring for him properly for the rest of his life, including giving him a new name."