A loose tiger went on a rampage in southern Atlanta, terrifying residents and attacking a dog early Wednesday morning before police killed the animal.
Brittney Speck, the owner of the dog, said she woke up to the sound of her dog barking up a storm. Speck told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that she spotted the tiger approaching her yard from a neighbor’s yard and called 911.
Speck said the tiger pounced on her dog moments later.
“And the officers I guess just started firing rounds and took it down and then gave me my dog back,” she added.
Police say they received several 911 calls, beginning at around 6 a.m., reporting the stray cat on the loose near I-75 and near a residence. Henry County police Capt. Joey Smith said the tiger was “in close proximity to a school bus route in a densely populated area.”
The officers, who did not have tranquilizers on hand, arrived before animal control and had no choice but to shoot the animal down. The dog survived the attack.
The Journal-Constitution reports that the six-year-old female Bengal tiger belonged to Feld Entertainment, Inc., a live production company that owns traveling shows such as the now-closed Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus.
The tiger was part of a shipment headed to Tennessee from Florida. Officials did not disclose the specific location in Tennessee where the shipment was headed.
“The truck had stopped in Georgia during the overnight hours, and during that stop the female Bengal tiger managed to escape unnoticed,” Department of Natural Resources spokesman Mark McKinnon said in a news release. “(The company) discovered that she was missing when the truck arrived at the destination.”
McKinnon said officials identified the tiger’s owner through a microchip that matched the company’s number.
The animal activist group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) offered a $2,500 reward for anyone who identified the tiger’s owner.
“Wild animals belong in the wild,” PETA spokeswoman Brittany Peet said in a news release, “and when dangerous apex predators are confined to private homes or for entertainment, the consequences can be fatal.”
No charges have been filed against the company, authorities say.