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Judge: Animal shelter to keep tiger seized from Houston home

FILE - In this Feb. 12, 2019, file photo, a tiger that was found in a Southeast Houston residence awaits transport to a rescue facility at the BARC Animal Shelter and Adoptions building in Houston. Police say a judge has ruled that the north Texas animal shelter is allowed to retain a tiger seized from an east Houston home. The Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch in Murchison has looked after the tiger ever since marijuana smoking 311 callers found the large cat in an abandoned house. Authorities say the 350 pound (159 kilograms) feline was improperly secured in the cage and could have gone on a “rampage.” (Godofredo A. Vasquez/Houston Chronicle via AP, File)

HOUSTON (AP) — A judge has ruled that an animal shelter can keep a tiger that was rescued from an abandoned Houston home.

The Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch in Murchison has looked after the tiger since February, when some people entered the house to smoke marijuana and found the big cat .

Authorities say the 350 pound (160 kilogram) tiger was improperly secured in a small cage, and was sitting on hay and its own waste.

Houston police believe Brittany Garza is the tiger’s owner and have filed a civil lawsuit accusing her of animal cruelty. She refuses to explain how she obtained the tiger.

The Houston Chronicle reports that the judge ordered Garza to pay about $11,600 to cover the cost of the tiger’s care.

Garza’s lawyer declined comment.

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