UPDATE: Tiger killed in Atlanta neighborhood was heading to Tennessee
The 6-year-old tiger was being transported from Sarasota to a Tennessee airport to catch a flight to Germany.
UPDATE: A tiger that was shot and killed in Atlanta Wednesday morning was being transported from Florida to a Tennessee airport.
Police were initially called about the loose animal around 6 a.m. It was spotted on Interstate 75 near the Jodeco Road overpass.
When police arrived, they said the tiger began to run toward a neighborhood. Authorities said they shot and killed the tiger when it attacked a dog.in the backyard of a home, but it took a while to track down where it came from.
Zoo Atlanta and other local rescues said all of their big cats were accounted for.
Finally, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources said that an official with Feld Entertainment, a company contracted to transport the tiger, saw news reports of themorning incident and contacted officials.
"This afternoon, after seeing news reports, an official with Feld Entertainment, Inc., a company contracted to transport the tiger, contacted Georgia DNR Law Enforcement to report the missing animal from a shipment, which was traveling from Florida to Tennessee. The truck had stopped in Georgia during the overnight hours and during that stop, the female Bengal tiger managed to escape unnoticed. Feld discovered that she was missing when the truck arrived at the destination."
Feld Entertainment is a live show production company which owns a number of traveling shows, including the now-closed Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
A spokesperson from Feld Entertainment said the tiger was named Suzy. The 6-year-old tiger was being transported from Sarasota to a Tennessee airport to catch a flight to Germany to join a European circus. They would not specify which airport it was headed to.
“This is an unfortunate situation. We are continuing to work with the proper authorities while this case is being investigated. This is a sad day,” said Stephen Payne from Feld Entertainment
According to officials, there was no necropsy performed on the tiger, which was cremated. Preliminary information leads officials to believe the tiger was born in captivity.There were no apparent injuries to the animal, and the tiger did have claws and a full set of adult teeth.
Sixteen former circus tigers now reside at Tiger Haven, a big cat sanctuary in Kingston.
PREVIOUS STORY: HENRY CO., GA (WXIA)- A tiger on the loose in Henry County is now dead. The first reports came into police around 6 a.m. Wednesday, of a tiger loose on I-75 near the Jodeco Road overpass.
Police said, "Henry County officers responded, locating the tiger and kept visual sight of it while animal professionals were contacted. The tiger began to run toward the Meadow Brook community off of Jodeco Road, to the back of a residence and began to attack a dog."
That's when police shot and killed him.
"With the tiger in close proximity to a school bus route in a densely populated area, officers made the decision to put the animal down with gunfire fearing that occupants of the home could be in danger as well as others in the area," a statement from police read.
It is unknown where the tiger came from, both the county DNR and Animal Control arrived on the scene to remove the tiger from the yard of the home where the dog lived. Anyone with information on where the tiger came from is encouraged to contact Henry County Police (770-288-8200) and or Henry County Animal Control (770-288-7387) or Georgia Department of Natural Resources.
The dog's owner, Brittney Speck, said that her dog, named Journey, is doing fine. She has been living in the home for almost 2 months and said she woke up to police lights and hysterical barking.
"I poked my head out the front door and then one of the officers yelled at me to get back inside, which is fine I just went to the back window to check on my dog just to see what was going on back there, and looked to the right. If you're looking out my back window in the dining room, you can see my entire backyard and then you can also see the neighbor's backyard and they have a vacant van back here in their backyard and I saw a tiger. It was a tiger on the far side, closest to my house," she said.
"I'm thankful my kids weren't out there and it happened when it did. Because it could have been a lot worse."
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