A tiger seen roaming the streets of suburban Atlanta is dead, but the question remains: Where did it come from?
The tiger was spotted early Wednesday morning in Henry County, in south metro Atlanta. Alarmed residents made multiple calls to 911 after seeing the animal, said Capt. Joey Smith of the Henry County Police Department.
One of those who called 911 was Brittney Speck. She woke up to police activity outside her house and high beams coming through her windows as authorities searched for the tiger. When she poked her head out of her front door, she was instructed by police to go back inside, so she did.
Speck said her dog, who was in her backyard, was barking hysterically.
“I’ve never heard her bark like that before,” Speck told CNN.
From her backyard, Speck said she could see the tiger in her neighbor’s backyard, roaming around a minivan. Once she saw where it was, Speck said she called 911 to give authorities the tiger’s location.
At the moment she hung up with 911, the tiger jumped the fence into Speck’s yard and went toward her dog.
“I fell to the ground crying because my husband was screaming because the tiger had jumped on top of my dog,” she said. Speck said her dog managed to get away from the tiger and was running around as police closed in.
“By the time (the tiger) had jumped on my dog, the officer had started firing rounds.”
Smith said the officers had no choice but to kill the tiger after it attacked the dog.
Speck’s dog, a dachshund named Journey, suffered a few scratches but is going to be OK, she said.
The tiger was a female and its body was later cremated, said Gerri Yoder, director of the Henry County Animal Care and Control Department.
“There is an ongoing investigation and, at this time, no determination has been made as to where the tiger originated from,” Yoder said.
Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary, which is located in the area, said all its 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.”