PHOENIX – A man who according to police was in illegal possession of a tiger puppy and tried to sell the animal was arrested.
Phoenix Police say 25-year-old Carlos Eduardo Castro Alcaraz was arrested on January 23. An investigation began after officers received a tip that Alcaraz was trying to sell a tiger cub on social media for $25,000. Detectives reportedly posed as buyers and negotiated a price of $20,000.
The tiger was recovered as officers served a search warrant on a nearby house 27th Avenue and Baseline Road.
“When they were making that search warrant, you could hear the tiger moaning in the background. You could feel something was not right,” said Sgt. Brian Bower of the Phoenix Police Department. “The tiger, in particular, was in a very small cage. Kind of a cage you might find like a doghouse. About 2/3 feet.”
Inside the house, officers also found several other animals, including snapping turtles and a small American alligator in a small aquarium. All animals were turned over to the Arizona Game and Fish Department.
According to police, Alcaraz said he bought the tiger for $8,000 because the owner didn’t care for it. Alcaraz was released from custody, but no one answered his door. Meanwhile, a trash bag outside displayed a wildcat-printed blanket. Alcaraz’s neighbor said he only heard dogs and never a tiger.
Officials say they don’t know where Alcaraz got the exotic animals, but are trying to figure out.
Wildlife experts were shocked to discover what kind of conditions the exotic animals were kept in. They were also shocked that the animals were found in a private home, in violation of state law.
“It’s not something you hear about often here in Arizona. Still, it’s a problem,” said Kristy Hayden, president of the Wildlife World Zoo. of these tigers”.
Hayden said exotic animals are in properly accredited facilities for a reason: when they’re in captivity. Most experts deal with adult tigers through protective barriers.