Tiger shot, killed in Henry County came from Ringling Bros. pare - CBS46 News

Tiger shot, killed in Henry County came from Ringling Bros. parent company

Posted: Updated:
Source: Henry County Police Department Source: Henry County Police Department
Source: Brittney Speck Source: Brittney Speck

A tiger that was spotted on the northbound lanes of I-75 early Wednesday morning is no longer on the loose after being shot by officers in a nearby neighborhood.

An officer with the Henry County Police Department reported seeing the animal on the highway near Jodeco Road and police received several 911 calls about the animal early Wednesday morning.

Police told CBS46 News that the tiger was shot by officers after the animal was seen jumping a fence of a residence in the area just after 6 a.m. They made the decision to shoot because they weren't equipped with tranquilizer guns and didn't want to wait until the guns arrived. As the school day approached, officers didn't want any children to be in danger as they waited at the bus stop.

Neighborhood reaction

Several Facebook friends commented on our posts, saying they saw the animal at some point. A worker at a Hardee's location nearby says a man who was in the parking lot told her that the tiger was on the loose when she arrived for work just before 4 a.m.

CBS46 Facebook friend Connie Kidd says she reported the animal to police around 4:40 a.m. Kidd says the animal was walking through her front yard.

Brittney Speck lives in the area says the tiger pounced on her dog before it was shot and killed. She says her dog is okay but is obviously shaken. She also told CBS46 that her dog was about the size of one of the tiger's legs. 

Feld Entertainment spokesman Stephen Payne tells The Associated Press that 6-year-old Suzy somehow got loose during a watering break from a truck on its way from Florida to Tennessee. Payne said Suzy was a former performer in the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. The tiger was headed back to its owner in Europe after the circus this year ended its 146-year run.

Noah's Ark Animal Sanctuary in Locust Grove says all of their tigers are accounted for. The sanctuary released this statement on the situation:

"Noah's Ark was contacted by Henry County Police with reports of a loose tiger on I-75. We responded immediately and were on the way to the scene with hopes of chemically immobilizing the tiger and bringing it to Noah's Ark. Unfortunately, human life became at risk and the tiger was shot by the authorities. All of our tigers are accounted for. Thank you to the officers for trying their best to bring this animal to safety."

CBS46's Adam Harding interviews neighbors, police press conference

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