Henry County police searched for the escaped tiger early Wednesday. JOHN SPINK / JSPINK@AJC.COM

Tiger’s escape in metro Atlanta still a mystery

An official with Feld Entertainment said Thursday that he does not know how a 6-year-old Bengal tiger managed to escape from a transport truck early Wednesday in Henry County.

“I do not have that complete information yet,” Stephen Payne told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in a phone conversation.

The tiger, a circus performer who was shot and killed by police in a neighborhood, may have escaped at a truck stop on I-75, Payne said.

Payne said the truck, which was carrying 14 big cats, made a stop during the overnight trip from Florida to Tennessee “but did not stay very long.”

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Payne said Wednesday the surviving 13 tigers are in good care.

The situation developed when residents saw the tiger near I-75 and in a neighborhood and called 911.

No charges have been filed.

Answers may come from the investigation being conducted by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

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DNR spokesman Mark McKinnon told The AJC that game wardens “are just making sure they have all the information they need.” Then they will meet with the Henry County Solicitor General to decide what, if any, charges will be filed.

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