Hit show “Tiger King” reminds Houston of its own exotic animal problem

Netflix’s hit show “Tiger King” has sparked a lot of discussions about owning exotic animals. It also reminds us of when the city of Houston had its own tiger issue to deal with.

When standing on the corner on East Avenue J and Central Street it’s hard to believe that last year a tiger was found caged inside in the Southeast Houston home.

FOX 26 spoke with the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch located outside of Dallas for an update.


“His name is Loki, and he is doing amazingly well. He is flourishing in his new multi-acre naturally wooded habitat. He enjoys playing in his pool, sleeping in the sun, rolling in the grass, acting like a wild cat should,” said Noelle Almrud, the Director.

It’s a happy ending for Houston’s tiger, but opens up a serious issue in our area.

We spoke with Houston SPCA about the several exotics animal cases they deal with each month.

Chief Adam Reynolds, a Cruelty Investigator for Houston SPCA, says “a lot of these exotics can be dangerous animals, and investigators safety is always paramount, but we also want to be involved will we can rescue the animals as well. We have a lot of non-primates or nonhuman primates so a lot of spider monkeys. We’ve had a lot of those cases, we’ve had everything from emus to bears to wolves to coyotes to mountain lions, you name it we’ve probably seen it.”

Owning an exotic animal is allowed in Texas, but it varies by region. You would have to check the USDA’s website to see what animal is allowed, and apply for a permit. However, Chief Reynolds believes there are more exotic animals in people's homes without a permit than with one.

RELATED: Texas lawmaker seeks statewide ban to own exotic pets

“The ones that we usually become involved in are the ones that we don’t know about, the ones that are not properly permitted, and those are the ones that we probably worry the most about.”

The consequences are hefty fines and/or jail time.

Zachary Devon is an exotic pet owner, and say it’s the people that don’t follow the law that give others a bad reputation.

“The majority of the responsible people like myself have that knowledge so it’s no different than you know like a zookeeper. Like I am well aware of the risk you know the risk for myself and the risk for the animals ... If you’re interested do the research on the animal, and it’s behavior in the wild and in captivity, and see if that something that goes along with your lifestyle.”

If you believe that someone in your community is housing an exotic animal without a permit, or the animal is living in poor condition please report it to the Houston SPCA at 713-869-7722.