The garage was being secured with a screwdriver and nylon strap.
The cage that kept the animal was not large or sturdy enough to hold the tiger, the station reported.
"The tiger was very thirsty, so we gave him some water", said Jarrad Mears with Houston animal shelter BARC.
They were in the house to smoke marijuana - but this was no drug trip. "They saw a tiger in this building, this vacant house that's obviously been abandoned for some time".
Lara Cottingham, Houston city's chief sustainability officer, told KPRC-TV the tiger was found "in a pretty small cage inside.a house that didn't look like it was in the best shape".
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News of the tiger has created quite a buzz on social media, and reactions have even been curated into their own Twitter Moment titled "Overweight tiger found in abandoned USA home". "It's a lovely animal and we want it to live a happy healthy life".
The tiger is being moved to a Texas animal sanctuary on Tuesday at an undisclosed location, Cottingham said.
It's legal to own a tiger in Texas if the owner has a wild game permit but it's illegal to have one in Houston and Tyson's owner, if found, could face a hefty fine.
"This is not the first tiger that has been picked up by BARC", Cottingham said. "They can be extremely risky".
"Fewer than 3,500 tigers of all tiger subspecies remain in the wild today, according to the Tiger Conservation Campaign".