Houston Mom Arrested for Keeping Tigers at Home With Daughter

 A Houston mother has been charged with endangering a child after investigators found she was homeschooling her daughter in a house full of wild animals — including a tiger, three tiger cubs, a cougar, a fox, a skunk and several monkeys.

An investigation was opened after a California man claimed Trisha Meyer swindled him out of $3,000 — the cost of an exotic Savannah kitten he had purchased from Meyer but that Meyer never shipped to him. Meyer has also been charged with felony theft in relation to the incident.

In September, authorities showed up at Meyer's home to find her 14-year-old daughter playing with the tigers. According to court documents, Meyer admitted that some of the monkeys could be "vicious" and that one even attacked another person, and a Texas Game Warden who had accompanied police to the home informed Meyer that the tigers she was keeping were dangerous and could kill.

At the same time, police continued to investigate the fraud claims and, according to court documents, found that Meyer had told Cody Martinez that she would send him the Savannah kitten on a United flight to California — but when it didn't arrive, told him the kitten was sick and needed to get better.

When Martinez kept asking when the kitten would be well enough to travel, Meyer apparently changed her story and said it was illegal to send the kitten to him (police checked with California authorities and there is no ban on Savannah kittens in California). Weeks later, after about ten more attempts to contact Meyer, Meyer stopped answering calls and texts, and Martinez gave up on trying to ask for his money back.

The Houston Chronicle reported that, realizing she was about to get arrested, Meyer fled to Las Vegas with all her wild animals in tow. She was finally caught on November 7 in a neighboring county in Nevada, and will be extradited back to Texas.
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Meagan Flynn is a staff writer at the Houston Press who, despite covering criminal justice and other political squabbles in Harris County, drinks only one small cup of coffee per day.
Contact: Meagan Flynn