I found an escaped pet that behaves like a friendly cat – but it really was a dangerous wild animal that is illegal to own
A SEPARATORY friendly pet wandering alone in a neighborhood has been the subject of a custody battle after it was revealed to be a dangerous wild animal.
Residents in Conroe, Texas, found a female tiger licking her face like a cat in 2016.
Jonathan Gessner and Erin Poole were out walking when they noticed the tiger in the undergrowth.
The young tigress, named Nala, wore a collar and leash that signaled that she had escaped her owner.
“Out of nowhere, she ran at me,” Gessner told The Venture.
“She put her paws on my shoulders and started licking my face. At first I was really scared.”
Poole supported the Tiger’s warm stance.
“She’s very friendly,” Poole said.
“She played like a cat.”
The Conroe Police Department initially believed the sighting was a hoax.
After receiving multiple reports of the tiger, Conroe Police Department dispatched animal control officers to locate and capture the animal.
Sergeant Dorcy McGinnis of the Conroe Police Department said: “It appears to be a tame animal, very playful and friendly.
“However, it is a very strong animal. It definitely wouldn’t be appropriate here in the city of Conroe,” she continued.
It’s legal to keep an exotic animal as a pet in some parts of Texas, but not in Conroe.
Nala later found herself at the center of a custody battle after a judge ruled her owner had left her and she went to the city government
“In light of all of these things, I will award temporary custody to the City of Conroe, subject to the animal being transferred to the recommended agency,” the judge ruled.
Cody Tibbitts – Nala’s owner, said he cares for her and is working to find a shelter to place her.
He told ABC13: “We dropped her off at a friend’s house and I don’t really know how she got out.
“I don’t know what else I can do at this point,” he added, disappointed that he’d lost a say in their future.
The Houston Zoo and the Houston SPCA recommended bringing Nala to the International Exotic Animal Sanctuary.