Seeing a tiger walking through the streets of Atlanta is probably not something residents expected to see, but that’s exactly what happened last week. A 6-year-old Bengal tiger escaped from a truck taking it from Florida to Tennessee and began walking around a suburban neighborhood, eventually being shot by police officers as it attacked a dog.
The female tiger was Suzy, a former circus performer for the now-defunct Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. The truck carrying her stopped Tuesday night at a truck stop on Interstate 75 just south of Atlanta. She somehow made her escape early Wednesday morning, with 911 calls coming from at least one unhappy party.
AL.com reports that Brittney Speck contacted authorities after her dachshund began barking in the backyard. Officials responded around 6 a.m., at which point Suzy ran through the yard, jumped a fence, and attacked the dog.
The original plan was to tranquilize Suzy, but with the morning progressing, the tiger near a school bus route, and the dog now in danger, police shot and killed her instead.
Suzy was reportedly owned by Alexander Lacey of Feld Entertainment Inc., which a microchip found under her skin corroborated. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that she was housed in Tampa after the Ringling circus closed in May and that the truck was taking her to an airport in Tennessee for a flight to Germany, presumably for a new performing act.
No charges have been filed as of this writing, but the Georgia Department of Natural Resources is investigating the incident and charges could still be filed. The situation could have been even worse, though: The truck was carrying 13 other tigers.