HOUSTON (KTRK/CNN) - The former owner of a tiger found in a vacant Houston home has been arrested.
Brittany Garza is now facing animal cruelty charges.
Garza said she never mistreated the animal.
She was taken into custody three months after the tiger was found in a southwest Houston garage.
"I feel like (like) I lost my child,” Garza said of the tiger she affectionately called Rajah. “I think about him everyday.”
Garza said she raised Rajah since he was a cub.
“He was my priority everyday and night feeding him,” Garza said.
Once Rajah started getting big, she knew it was time to find him a new place to live.
She made arrangements with a sanctuary in College Station, TX, and put the animal inside a friend’s home until the transfer could be made.
But, someone else found the tiger in that garage before he could be moved.
“He was in the process of picking him up" Garza said. "He was supposed to pick him up the day before, but the weather was real bad and we had him in the transportation cage but it started raining. We put him in the garage and then everybody else found him before we got to him.”
“He didn’t live in that cage, that wasn’t where he lived," said Angela Perez, Garza’s mother. “That’s not where he ate.”
The tiger was taken to Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch where he’ll live the rest of his life.
As for Garza, her bond was set at $100.
“I’m willing to face the consequences even though he’s never been cruelly treated and he’s always had food and water,” Garza said.
Garza has also been ordered to pay more than $11,000 for the animal's care.