Reality star Carol Baskin has blasted Texas senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn as the search for a pet tiger on the loose in Houston stretches into its fourth day.
Baskin, who shot to fame in the Netflix documentary Tiger King, says the senators are to be blamed for the current caper because they did not sign her Big Cat Public Safety Act last year.
The federal bill, which was passed in the House of Representatives, seeks to prohibit private individuals from owning tigers and other large animals as domestic pets.
Texas state laws currently allow big cats to be kept as pets – although the City of Houston has its own separate rules barring people from doing so.
‘This has become kind of commonplace in Texas,’ Baskin claimed during an interview with CNN on Wednesday morning.
‘I really hope Sens. Cruz and Cornyn will sign on to the Big Cat Public Safety Act because if they they had last year, when the house passed this bill, this wouldn’t have happened.’
Carol Baskin blasted Texas senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn during a CNN appearance Wednesday as the search for the tiger on stretched into its fourth day
While Baskin has been an advocate for big cats, Tiger King fans took to Twitter after making memes mocking the reality star for weighing in on the new saga in Texas.
The nine-month-old Bengal tiger, named India, has been at large in Houston since Sunday when its alleged owner, Victor Hugo Cuevas, 26, bundled the animal into the back of his white Jeep Cherokee while fleeing from police.
He was later caught and arrested, but there is still no sign of his predator pet.
A Houston Police Department told DailyMail.com on Wednesday that there had been no further leads on the big cat’s whereabouts – but that they’d issue updates on Twitter as soon as they have any.
Cuevas is a suspect in the July 2017 murder of student Oseikhuemen Omobhude, 20, who was shot dead outside a sushi restaurant in Richmond, west of Houston.
The nine-month-old Bengal tiger, named India, has been at large since Sunday when its alleged owner, Victor Hugo Cuevas, bundled the animal into the back of his white Jeep Cherokee while fleeing from police
Victor Hugo Cuevas, 26, is a suspect in the July 2017 murder of student Oseikhuemen Omobhude, 20, who was shot dead outside a sushi restaurant in Richmond, west of Houston
Police lost track of the Jeep during the high-speed pursuit, before they apprehended Cuevas the following evening at his parent’s home, but there was no sign of the tiger.
Footage on social media showed the animal wandering around a west Houston neighborhood on Sunday, prompting the large-scale search for the predator.
Cuevas has not disclosed whether he has a friend hiding the tiger inside of a home.
However, on Wednesday, Cuevas’ lawyer, Michael Elliott, insists that the big cat does not belong to his client.
He told ABC that the tiger actually belongs to a man named ‘D’, or Deandre, who has been is now sending Cuevas death threats.
‘You are dead kid,’ one of the unverified texts purportedly read.
‘You don’t know nothing,’ another stated.
Baskin blasted Texas senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn for failing to sign the Big Cat Public Safety Act
Cuevas’ lawyer, Michael Elliott, insists that the big cat does not belong to his client. He told ABC that the tiger actually belongs to a man named ‘D’ who has been is now sending Cuevas death threats
Social media users poked fun at Carole Baskin after seeing her weigh in on the saga on CNN
Meanwhile, attorney Michael Elliott says it is bizarre that the tiger has not yet been found and alluded to some sort of cover up in his interview with ABC.
‘This is Houston… They have police in every corner, Motorola radios, Fox (helicopter) in the air. How often do you see people running in an SUV that doesn’t get caught? Something doesn’t match up here,’ he stated.
Residents in West Houston were alerted to the presence of the tiger on Sunday.
Waller County Sheriff’s deputy Wes Manion discovered the big cat on the loose in the street, and tried to shepherd it away from residents.
Video footage shows him drawing his weapon and aiming it at the tiger as it appears to be stalking him.
‘Last thing I wanted to do was shoot the tiger,’ Manion told KHOU. ‘It didn’t seem super aggressive.’
Waller County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Wes Manion approximates the size of the tiger, Monday, May 10, 2021, in Houston
The tiger, identified by a neighbor as a Bengal, approaches a man with a weapon trained upon it in menacing fashion
A tiger was on the loose in the quiet residential neighborhood of Ivy Wall Drive in West Houston on Sunday night. It has still not been found four days on
‘Houston’s own Tiger King,’ said another poster, with a picture of Cuevas with the tiger
Further footage shows Cuevas arrive and start dragging the tiger back inside a house, which he had been renting for six months.
Manion asked angrily why the tiger was on the loose, and Cuevas is seen on video telling him: ‘We’re with the zoo’.
Manion orders Cuevas to get the tiger back into his house and Cuevas grabs the tiger’s collar and walks it into a house.
A short time later he allegedly bundled the big cat into his Jeep and sped off with police in pursuit.
After being apprehended at his parents’ home, Cuevas appeared in court in Harris County on Tuesday where a magistrate set a $50,000 bond on a felony evading arrest charge.
Cuevas has been charged with the July 2017 murder of University of Houston dental student Oseikhuemen Omobhude, 20, outside the Bella Terra shopping mall in Richmond, west of Houston, ABC7.com reported.
According to eyewitness accounts, Omobhude was approached by two men on motorcycles and shot several times in his car. He was able to drive a few hundred yards to seek help at a nearby Buffalo Wings Restaurant, but later died at Memorial Hermann Katy Hospital.
The motive for the shooting is still unclear, and it is also unknown why Cuevas was on bail after being accused of such a serious crime.
Cuevas was arrested two weeks after the murder at an airport while returning from Mexico, KHOU11 reported.
He was charged with first-degree murder three years later in 2020 and is currently out on a $125,000 bond. A second man was also arrested in connection with the shooting.
Cuevas is on bail for the 2017 murder of Oseikhuemen ‘Ose’ Omobhude, 20, who was shot in the parking lot of a popular sushi restaurant
Ceuvas is seen in his 2017 mugshot after he was arrested in relation to the murder of student Oseikhuemen Omobhude
You CAN keep a tiger as a pet in Texas… but not in Houston
Texas has some of the most lenient exotic pet ownership laws in the country.
People can own ‘dangerous wild animals’ – including lions, tigers, cougars, leopards, cheetahs, jaguars, hyenas, bears, coyotes, baboons, chimpanzees, and gorillas – as long as they have the right paperwork.
Anyone wishing to own a dangerous animal in the state has to show they can properly cage and provide for it in order to be eligible for a permit from the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife.
Owners must submit photographs of the animal, photographs of its enclosure, and provide a statement from a licensed veterinarian verifying the animal has been inspected.
They must also have liability insurance.
However, cities and counties have their own laws on exotic pet ownership, and in Houston ownership of dangerous animals is illegal in the city limits.