"A concerned citizen called 311".
But the tiger was real and was being kept in a "rinky-dink" cage in a garage in the 9400 block of East Avenue J, police told KPRC-TV.
Despite being relatively calm for a tiger in its situation, it had to be tranquilised so animal rescue officers could get it out of the house safely.
"She seems to be in good spirits, was really thirsty when they found her, she's not causing a ruckus, but we eagerly anticipating the vets to get here so they can give her the proper medical care, food she probably wants", Cottingham said on Tuesday.
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While it's legal to own a tiger in Texas if the owner has a wild game permit, it's not permitted in Houston.
Cops quizzed the drug user, asking if they were high and if they were sure they'd actually seen a tiger.
"Finding a forever home for a tiger is not easy", she said.
Some tigers are smuggled into the U.S. from Mexico, and there are small pockets of breeding facilities across the country.
"People think that it is fun or that it is cool to have an exotic pet", Cottingham also said yesterday, USA Today reported. "More often than not it gets big, it gets expensive, it gets unsafe, and they end up turning the animal in or abandoning it". It has two Malayan tigers and "does not have capacity to receive additional tigers", a statement read.