Who is Gia Cuevas? Murder suspect Victor Cuevas' wife hands over tiger India to cops after it was seen in Houston
The nine-month-old cub is set to be transferred to the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch, which is a sanctuary for animals including other tigers
A Bengal tiger cub has finally been rescued just days after it was filmed roaming through a quiet Houston neighborhood last Sunday, May 9. The big cat, named India, was handed over to authorities in the Texas city on Saturday, May 15, and is now under the care of an animal shelter, KHOU reported.
The nine-month-old cub is set to be transferred to the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch, which is a sanctuary for animals including other tigers.
A video of India, which is tame, was shared by Houston Police. Wearing a turquoise sparkly collar, the tiger was being fed a bottle of milk by Gia Cuevas, wife of alleged murderer Victor Cuevas, who had reportedly purchased the beast. "We got him and he's healthy," Houston Police Department Commander Ron Borza said at a press conference on May 15. Authorities were notified by BARC, the local animal shelter where India was taken, that a concerned citizen who was in touch with Gia wished to hand him over. It is yet to be understood where the tiger had been all week and why Cuevas decided to contact the police.
Borza said that India had been smuggled through several "safe houses" as part of an effort to try and hide the big cat while authorities hunted for him. "She wanted to turn the tiger over to us," Borza said of Gia Cuevas, who met with police on the west side of town and handed the tiger over to police custody before he was brought to the shelter. "The tiger appears to be in very good health," Borza added, noting, however, that he had been in a "very small crate when he was brought to us today."
"As you can tell, he's in a much bigger crate now and he seems to be doing just fine," Borza said. Cuevas was reportedly allowed to come along as they delivered the tiger to BARC "because of the stress the tiger has been through in the last couple of weeks."
"He was obviously agitated and we got in the trailer with him, Gia fed him while we sat there and fed him. The animal likes attention," Borza said. "But in no way, shape or form, should you have an animal like that in your household."
India is only nine months old and already weighs 175 pounds, he revealed. "Full-grown, that animal can get to 600 pounds. He still has his claws and could do a lot of damage if he decided to," Borza said. "Lucky for us, he's very tame and he'll be going to a sanctuary tomorrow where he will hopefully live the rest of his life in a very safe environment."
"I work out every day and that animal was extremely powerful. If he wanted to overcome you, he could do it instantly," the police commander added. "No doubt about it, you should not have that in your home. And it's not good for the tiger. He needs to be out roaming around."
Police have not determined where Victor Cuevas purchased the tiger. Cops do not have immediate plans to charge Gia Cuevas for keeping the tiger, even though that is illegal. Authorities are still trying to find out where Victor Cuevas purchased the beast.
Following his arrest, Cuevas told police that India wasn't his and that his real owner was a man named Deandre. Tigers are allowed to be kept as pets under Texas state law. However, Houston has its own city rules prohibiting such exotic animals in private homes. "It's a feel-good story. I think people get tired of turning on the news every night and it's all doom and gloom. This thing turned out really well," Borza noted.
India was caught on surveillance footage roaming west Houston last Sunday, shortly before alleged murderer Cuevas was seen pushing him into a white Jeep Cherokee.
Apparently there's a tiger loose on my parents' West Houston street? pic.twitter.com/TgdIiPSPKx— robwormald (@robwormald) May 10, 2021
Cuevas was pulled over by the authorities, but there was no sign of India. It later emerged that the animal had been passed between a string of safe houses throughout the week in order to hide him from law enforcement.
Cuevas, who was out on bail following a July 2017 shooting outside a Japanese restaurant, is now back behind bars.