A BARC Animal Shelter crew responded to the home with the Houston police's Major Offender Animal Cruelty Unit and tranquilized the tiger, nicknamed "Tyson" by rescuers after the famous scene in The Hangover featuring boxer Mike Tyson's tiger.
But the tiger was real and was being kept in a "rinky-dink" cage in a garage in the 9400 block of East Avenue J, police told KPRC-TV.
Officials say it could easily open and the tiger could have gone on a "rampage".
The tiger, at least, is in good health and good spirits since its rescue, according to Lara Cottingham, chief of staff for Houston's Administration and Regulatory Affairs Department.More news: Ariana Grande accuses Grammys producer Ken Ehrlich of 'lying about me'
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Officers tranquillised the female tiger and transported it to the city's animal shelter, where she's staying overnight in a cage inside a horse trailer under round-the-clock surveillance, according to Cottingham.
The tiger is being moved to a Texas animal sanctuary on Tuesday at an undisclosed location, Cottingham said. "So it was important that we get it out of that situation".
While the unexpected human-tiger encounter ended happily, authorities said it could have been much bloodier given the crude nature of the tiger's enclosure.
Jason Alderete told KTRK-TV that the person who called 311 was asked if they were under the effects of drugs or actually saw a tiger. They are endangered - the WWF estimates there are fewer than 4,000 left in the wild.