Police are searching for the owner of a tiger they shot after it jumped on a local resident’s dog.
Police received calls about a tiger wandering not far from the highway. No tiger had escaped from the local zoo nor the local animal sanctuary. Police decided to open fire once the tiger jumped a resident’s fence, Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. The resident’s dog managed to survive, but police were worried they or other local residents would step outside their homes and into danger.
Police were waiting for the animal control to arrive with tranquilizer weapons, but were worried that the animal presented a more immediate danger. They were not equipped with tranquilizer darts and animal control was still a few miles away at the time of the shooting.
People first reported seeing the tiger walking along the highway. A police officer also saw it. An employee heading to Hardee’s to work in the early morning said someone in the parking lot told her there was a tiger wandering around.
Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary, located in Locust Grove, Georgia, posted on Facebook that they were hoping to get to the scene first so they could chemically tranquilize the animal.
There are theories swirling around of where the animal came from. It is not illegal to own a tiger with the proper licensing. It also could have been an illegally owned tiger caught in the exotic pet trade.
The area the tiger was found roaming in was a school bus route. Police only decided to shoot the tiger when it hopped over a fence and went after a dog. The dog survived. Police said they were worried the home’s residents would exit the house and be put in danger.
“We would like to confirm where the tiger came from, of course. Hopefully there’s no other animals like that here in the area. We just don’t know, so we’re asking for any help from the public,” said Henry County Police Capt. Joey Smith, at a press conference, via AJC.
Comments of the incident on social media express that it would have been better if the police were equipped to tranquilize the animal. Some of them blame whoever was the owner for letting it get loose. Others still think it was from the animal sanctuary, despite news to the contrary.