SAN ANTONIO — Two wild animals were removed from a home on the southeast side Tuesday afternoon. According to the Bexar County Sheriff's Office, a tiger and a bobcat were being kept inside a home where they took a 25-year-old man into custody.
BCSO arrested Jeremy Martinez at a house in the 3100 block of Shane Road on the far southeast side outside of Loop 410. That's where they discovered a 5-year-old bobcat and a 13-week old tiger cub.
Sheriff Javier Salazar said he thinks the discovery is related to other recent seizures of tigers in the past few months from homes in Bexar County and fears there will be more.
"I think that there's a lot more out there," Salazar said. "You can imagine the tragedy that could occur if there were babies in the house with a bobcat."
Salazar went on to accuse the popular show, The Tiger King, of being partly to blame for an increase in people interested in owning exotic pets.
"I think the Tiger King TV show led to the popularity," Salazar said. "Well it's going to be a 500-pound tiger overnight."
The big cats were taken to the San Antonio Zoo. President Tim Morrow said neither animal was properly cared for by its owner.
"We can already tell the tiger is malnourished. The fur coat doesn't look good. The body shape doesn't look good for a tiger his age," Morrow said. "And the bobcat, who's five years old, really looks like a geriatric cat. The way he's acting, we think he may have some vision problems."
Morrow said this is the third call they've helped police with the last five weeks. He's disappointed to see this mistreatment.
"A lot of people that get these cats, they have them for a status symbol," Morrow said. "They don't know how to care for them. They don't think long term that this is going to be a 500 or 600-pound animal."
Morrow said the zoo takes the animals in and uses its resources to nurse them back to health. Then, they find them a permanent home.
"We'll work with sanctuaries and rescue facilities locally, across Texas and across the country to find them a home to live their forever life," Morrow said. "People can know now that these animals are in a good, safe place and that they're going to get healthy and stronger."
Morrow said the big cats could be with them for days or weeks. He said the tiger they took in a few weeks ago from a previous BCSO seizure has already been relocated to a sanctuary.
Salazar said the bobcat had free run of the house and the paws of the tiger could be seen underneath a door when crews arrived.
Last month, BCSO received a call as the severe winter weather was starting for a "crying tiger" left in the cold. When deputies found the animal, she was in a poorly secured cage. That tiger was transported to a rescue organization's ranch in north Texas.