Carole Baskin blames Cornyn, Cruz for tiger on the loose in Houston

Screenshot via ABC News

Where is India? India is a 9-month-old Bengal tiger that is missing from her home on the westside of Houston. Her owner is out on bond in a 2017 murder case.

The tiger was being well cared for according to police, sleeping indoors and using what is described as a spacious enclosure in the back yard. This house is in a subdivision, not out in a rural area so you can imagine the neighbors’ shock to see India casually lounging in the house’s front yard. The home is a rental and it was empty when police searched it on Monday. An off-duty deputy sheriff who lived nearby arrived on the scene after neighbors called in the tiger sighting on Sunday afternoon.

The alarming find Sunday evening revealed two things to residents in the 1100 block of Ivy Wall Drive: Their neighbor, Victor Hugo Cuevas, was out on bond in a 2017 murder case in Fort Bend County, and police believe he had been looking after the tiger in the backyard of a rental home. Keeping an exotic animal, such as a tiger, violates city code, police said.

Authorities entered the Energy Corridor-area rental Monday and found an empty house. No other animals could be found. The tiger had been sleeping inside, but authorities found a spacious enclosure for it outside. Houston Police Department Commander Ron Borza surmised the tiger had been “living pretty well” but that he found freedom by scaling the fence. This then led to a tense face-off on Sunday with an armed off-duty Waller County deputy sheriff, who happened to live nearby.

Needless to say, this has been a local story since Sunday. The tiger is still missing. Keeping an exotic animal, like a tiger, violates city policy. A shouting match ensued between Cuevas and his neighbors. He put India into a Jeep and drove off. Police briefly pursued Cuevas but he got away. He was arrested Monday night at another home on a felony charge of evading arrest,

Deputy sheriff Borza just wants “to get the tiger to a safe place.” “We have plenty of places we can take that tiger, keep it safe and give it a home for the rest of his life,” Borza said. “A lot of times people get desperate and they do silly things.”

This story got a little crazier Wednesday when Carole Baskin appeared on CNN and blamed Texas Senators Cornyn and Cruz for the tiger on the loose. If like millions of people you watched the Netflix documentary “Tiger King,” her name is familiar. She too keeps tigers and other big cats in what she calls an animal rescue. CNN brought her on to politicize the story and slam a couple of Republican senators along the way.

Carole Baskin, the infamous reality star of the popular Netflix documentary “Tiger King,” says Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn share the blame for the case of the missing tiger that currently has Houston on standby.

Baskin went on CNN Wednesday to speak out against tiger pet ownership and slammed the Texas senators for their lack of action on a bill that would make it illegal for the public to own pet tigers. The Big Cat Public Safety Act would restrict the public from owning big cats, including tigers, leopards and cheetahs. The bill passed the House in December 2020 but has yet to pass the Senate.

You can’t make this stuff up. Is Baskin really naive enough to believe that a public safety act would have stopped the alleged murderer from keeping a tiger? Doesn’t the fact that the man already showed a disregard for the law proves that the Big Cat Public Safety Act wouldn’t have deterred him? He allegedly murdered someone so he’s not exactly a model citizen, right? If you watched the Netflix documentary, you know that Baskin has been accused of nefarious acts herself.

“I really hope that Senators Cruz and Cornyn will sign onto the Big Cat Public Safety Act because if they had last year when the House passed this bill…this wouldn’t have happened this time,” Baskin told CNN. “And the reason for that is this cub is nine months old, which means it probably aged out of being used as a pay-to-play prop in December of last year when this passed the House with a 2/3 vote.”

Baskin closed her animal rescue to the general public after the documentary came out. It alleged she was a murderer and animal abuser. She has since parlayed her role in the documentary into 15 minutes of fame, even participating in Dancing with the Stars. As I mentioned, you can’t make this stuff up. Meanwhile, I hope India is found and placed in a safe environment soon. It isn’t her fault she is in this mess. Mr. Cuevas should be blamed, not a couple of U.S. Senators.