Is a tiger on the loose in Brazoria County?

December 18, 2009 8:48:19 PM PST
Could there be a tiger roaming parts of Brazoria County? Several people say they have seen it, and now authorities are issuing a warning. We first told you about the tiger sightings Thursday night on Eyewitness News. We're now hearing more about what those eyewitnesses described. And as you can imagine, residents anywhere near Oyster Creek are talking about it, and being cautious.

Cashier Gay Brown hears a lot of stories in her line of work, but none quite as unusual as the one she heard Tuesday night.

"It was just getting dark and a customer came in and he was really shaken up and he said, 'I just saw a tiger. I just called the police and they'll be here any minute.' We were like, 'A tiger? Are you serious?"' said Brown.

Tigers are not indigenous to Texas. That's why the sighting has caused so much commotion. Even the witness, according to Brown, initially didn't believe his eyes.

"He says he thought it was a donkey at first because it was this tall and then he said he remembered seeing the stripes, so it was a tiger," said Brown. "He said, 'I just saw a tiger.'"

Despite the unlikeliness of the story, Oyster Creek police did begin a massive search.

"We checked the area with spotlights and thermal imagery," said Sgt. Rick Hempel with the Oyster Creek Police Department. "We contacted the game warden. She came out with night vision equipment."

Still, there was no sign of the tiger. Over the next few days, though, at least five other residents would report seeing a large cat walking in the area.

"Does that make you nervous?" we asked Julene Carter, who works nearby.

"Yeah, so let us go to our car," she answered with a laugh.

Police say they have checked with registered owners of exotic pets in Brazoria County, but so far, none have reported any missing animals. Nearby homeowners and businesses are being advised to be on alert in case the reports turn out to be true.

"I hope they find it alive, too," said Brown. "I don't want anyone else to harm it. O want it to be safe and everything but where it needs to be for sure."

They say if anyone encounters a dangerous animal, call local authorities.


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