Police in Stockbridge, Georgia, on Wednesday confirmed that a tiger running free on a highway there has been shot and killed.
Henry County Police Department Capt. Joey Smith told several local news outlets that drivers reported seeing the animal early that morning.
Smith said that the big cat was observed on the northbound lanes of I-75 in Stockbridge, which is about 20 miles from Atlanta.
The police captain noted that authorities received at least two 911 calls from people who saw the tiger near the highway’s ramp to Jodeco Road.
Law officers then responded to a nearby neighborhood shortly after 6 a.m. local time after residents reported witnessing the creature there.
“Unfortunately, it jumped a fence and went after a dog behind one of the residences here,” Smith said. “And the officers had to use some force to put the tiger down.”
Smith added that the Department of Natural Resources and Animal Control were en route when the tiger began chasing the dog, forcing police to attack the large feline.
The police captain estimated that the tiger was fully-grown and that the dog survived the encounter.
Suvanee Brownlee, an employee at a local Hardee’s restaurant, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that she pulled in for work around 4 a.m. local time.
The fast food worker added that a man told her soon after that he had spotted a tiger, only for several police cars to then arrive.
“I was shocked,” she said, noting officers told her to shut the restaurant’s doors and stay inside.
Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary in Henry County said in a statement early Wednesday that they could not reach the animal before the situation turned potentially dangerous.
“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,” it said.
“Unfortunately, human life became at risk and the tiger was shot by the authorities,” the statement added.
“All of our tigers are accounted for. Thank you to the officers for trying their best to bring this animal to safety.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.