McDONOUGH, Georgia — An escaped circus lion was gunned down by police in Georgia after it ran into an area crowded with homes and attacked a dog, authorities said.
Police in Henry County encountered the big cat near a highway overpass south of Atlanta around 6 a.m. Wednesday morning. As they called for help from animal professionals, the cat ran into a nearby backyard where it tussled with a pooch.
“With the tiger in close proximity to a school bus route in a densely populated area, officers made the decision to put the animal down with gunfire fearing that occupants of the home could be in danger,” the Henry County Sheriff’s office said in a statement.
At first it was a mystery where the animal had come from. A check of nearby big cat sanctuaries turned up no missing cats.
Later in the day, it was revealed that the cat was a 6-year-old Bengal tiger named Suzy who had escaped from a truck transporting her and 13 others from Florida to Tennessee for Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
Officials with the transport company, Feld Entertainment, said the truck had stopped in Georgia at some point overnight and Suzy had managed to escape unnoticed. The truck’s crew didn’t noticed she was unaccounted for until they reached their destination.