Tiger found in garage of abandoned Houston residence finds new home at Murchison sanctuary
The Cleveland Armory Black Beauty Ranch currently has temporary ownership of the tiger and is expected to be given full ownership soon.
A 350-pound tiger who was found caged in the garage of an abandoned house in southeast Houston by a woman who had broken into the residence has been relocated and rehomed into a wildlife sanctuary in Murchison, a small town of under a 1,000 people.
According to the Daily Mail, the tiger is now settling in at the Cleveland Armory Black Beauty Ranch. A Facebook post by the ranch confirmed the big cat would now be able to roam freely across the three acres of its enclosure's grassy plains and said donations would be used to provide him with "high-quality food, superb veterinary care, top-notch staff care, as well as safe and secure natural habitat with trees, pools, platforms, toys, and more."
After an incredulous woman came across the tiger and called 311 for help, officials transferred the call to the Houston division of the Bureau of Animal Regulation and Care (BARC), who subsequently got a warrant from the Houston police to search the residence.
BARC worked alongside the Houston Police Department's Major Offender Animal Cruelty Unit to tranquilize the tiger and moved him to BARC's animal center for the night. While he was well-fed and in good shape, his housing condition was poor. Speaking about his cage at the time, an officer told reporters, "He’s in a rinky-dink cage that could easily bust open. It was secured with a nylon strap and a screwdriver for the top of the cage."
Noelle Almrud, the director of the Cleveland Armory Black Beauty Ranch, said the tiger, who is about two-years-old, would not have any such problems at her facility. "It was just amazing to see him walk out on grass, and to see him explore and have that freedom of movement," she said. "It was just such a reward and fulfilling to us."
She also said the big cat seemed very comfortable around his handlers. "He comes right up to the fence every time a staff member is present," she revealed. "He seems to happy and content. Our staff is just falling in love with him."
The facility currently only has temporary legal custody of the tiger and are expected to name him as soon as the Harris County District Attorney's Office grants them full ownership, reported the Mail. Once they have full ownership, he will also be sedated for a full physical exam and castration as Almrud is of the belief that "any reputable facility is non-breeding."
The Black Beauty Ranch is also home to two other tigers, Charlie, who was rescued from a breeder in 2016, and Alex, a former pet like their most recent addition who arrived at the sanctuary in 2014. However, they are not expected to be introduced to one another as tigers are solitary animals in the wild.