Atlanta-area drivers encounter an unexpected creature on I-75

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Published by: Dan Calabrese on Wednesday September 06th, 2017

Yes. A freaking tiger.

Photo courtesy of Twitter user Dispatch Demon.

What the . . . ?

I've driven through Atlanta at rush hour. It was bad. If I'd seen this, I'd probably have assumed I'd fallen asleep behind the wheel and was dreaming. But it was no dream:

A tiger that was spotted on the northbound lanes of I-75 early Wednesday morning was shot by officers in a nearby neighborhood, reports CBS Atlanta affiliate WCGL-TV.

A Henry County police officer reported seeing the animal on the highway, and police received several 911 calls about the animal.

Police told WGCL the tiger was shot by officers after it was seen jumping a resident's fence after 6 a.m.

They say they opted to shoot because they weren't equipped with tranquilizer guns and didn't want to wait until the guns arrived.

. . .

As the school day approached, officers didn't want any children to be in danger as they waited at the bus stop.

Several Facebook friends commented on WGCL posts, saying they saw the animal at some point. A worker at a Hardees location nearby says a man who was in the parking lot told her the tiger was on the loose when she arrived for work just before 4 a.m.

WGCL Facebook friend Connie Kidd says she reported the animal to police around 4:40 a.m. Kidd says the animal was walking through her front yard.

A woman who lives in the area says the tiger pounced on her dog before the tiger was killed. The woman says her dog is OK but was obviously startled.

It's still unclear where the tiger came from, but Noah's Ark Animal Sanctuary in Locust Grove says all of its tigers are accounted for.

Henry County is just south of Atlanta, and includes the city of Stockbridge, where the boss's office is. This is why Rob and I live up here in Michigan. If it's not hurricanes, it's freaking tigers wandering around the neighborhood.

So seriously, where did it come from? If not from the animal sancutary, and not from a local zoo, was someone illegally keeping a tiger as a pet? That seems at first glance like the most logical explanation, but I guess we won't know for sure until authorities look into it a little.

Georgia has its share of mountainous rural areas, but if there are any wild tigers, they certainly aren't known to have habitats near the major metropolitan area of Atlanta.

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Seriously, how much do you freak if you're heading up I-75 to work and you see this thing wandering along the side of the road? Or if you look out your window and see it strolling across your front lawn? I once saw a 12-foot alligator wander by my parents' back door when they lived in Florida, but in Florida you know there are alligators around, and even though they scare the bejeezus out of you (at least if you're smart), you're not surprised to see them. It comes with the territory.

Tigers in metropolitan Atlanta do not come with the territory. At least they didn't until today.

I'm sorry they had to shoot it, but absent a way to tranquilize it, they really had no other choice. You have to keep people safe, and under the circumstances this was the only way to eliminate the threat with certainty. The police did what they had to do.

Now they need to find out who's harboring tigers and putting everyone else in danger.

Dan's new novel, BACKSTOP, is a story of spiritual warfare and baseball. Download it from Amazon here!