Overweight tiger discovered after being left abandoned in US home
A person who went into an abandoned US house to smoke marijuana ended up stumbling upon a tiger.
The anonymous pot user initially thought they were hallucinating after discovering the wild animal in Houston, Texas.
After confirming that the creature was, in fact, real, the concerned citizen phoned the police to report the bizarre incident.
However, according to a member of the Houston Police Department, the officer who answered the call had their doubts about the accuracy of the report and questioned the unnamed person to determine if they were simply under the effects of drugs.
Following the phone call, the Houston Police Department's Major Offenders, Livestock Animal Cruelty Unit arrived at the scene to find an overweight female tiger. Estimates of the animal's weight range from 400 pounds (181kg) to 1,000 pounds (453kg).
The large cat was being held in an unlocked cage which was too small and not strong enough for an animal of that size, according to US reports. While the house itself was vacant, packages of meat were found with the tiger, suggesting the owner hadn't abandoned it completely.
While the tiger - which authorities nicknamed Tyson after the movie The Hangover - appeared to be "docile" and "friendly", the team decided to tranquilise her so she could be transported to the city's BARC animal shelter.
Speaking about the unusual scenario, Sgt Jason Alderete, of Houston Police Department's major offenders, livestock animal cruelty unit, said: "A concerned citizen called 311. They were trying to get into this house to smoke marijuana. We questioned them as to whether they were under the effects of the drugs or they actually saw a tiger. They saw a tiger in this building, this vacant house that's obviously been abandoned for some time."
The wild animal is currently awaiting her 'forever home'. A spokesperson from Houston Zoo said in a statement that it would not be able to take in the tiger, writing: "The Houston Zoo is home to two Malayan tigers, Berani and Satu, and does not have the capacity to receive additional tigers."
According to a report from KHOU, an animal sanctuary in Texas has agreed to take it in.
Lara Cottingham, chief of staff of Houston's Administration and Regulatory Affairs Department, told USA Today that the situation was unexpected, to say the least, saying: "We deal with, for the most part, puppies and kittens. Very, very rarely do we take in a tiger."
Furthermore, Heidi Krahn, executive director of the centre for animal research & education, told ABC News that "finding a forever home for a tiger is not easy."
"I tried to explain to people it's a lot like having a child. If you have a child, you have insurance but these guys don't have insurance," she said.