'There Is a Tiger Walking Down the Exit Ramp'

Escaped circus tiger had to be shot in Georgia
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 7, 2017 12:35 PM CDT
Circus Tiger Gets Loose, Terrifies in Georgia
A Bengal tiger roams in Georgia.   (Henry County Police Department)

"There is a tiger walking down the exit ramp onto the interstate," 911 operators in Georgia heard Wednesday, prompting a feverish response from police and plenty of speculation on how the animal got there. That mystery is now solved. A microchip implanted in the female Bengal tiger, shot and killed as it attacked a dog in Henry County early Wednesday, revealed the animal belonged to Feld Entertainment, a live production company that formerly operated the Ringling Bros. circus, reports WXIA. The 6-year-old tiger named Suzy had escaped unnoticed from a truck carrying the animal from Florida to Tennessee when the vehicle stopped in Georgia overnight. Residents, however, were quick to notice Suzy wandering a residential area around 6am.

Brittney Speck, who spotted the tiger on a neighbor's property, was one of several people to call 911. Moments later, she says the tiger jumped a fence into her backyard and attacked her dog. That's when police arrived and "started firing rounds," Speck tells CNN. While her dachshund was remarkably unhurt, the tiger was killed "quickly and humanely" as was "necessary for public safety," says a rep for Georgia's Department of Natural Resources. The department—which notes Feld Entertainment only realized the tiger was missing when its truck arrived in Memphis, where Suzy was to board a flight to Germany—tells WSB that charges are pending. According to a Feld rep, "this tiger was raised by its owner since it was a cub. Clearly, this was a tragic accident." (More Georgia stories.)

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