ATLANTA - 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.
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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 the morning 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,.