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911 call captures off-duty deputy spotting possible loose tiger


Published in Cats & Dogs News

(UPI) A 911 recording has captured an off-duty deputy reporting a tiger on the loose in East Knox County, Tenn., but several agencies haven't been able to find the elusive cat.

Sheriff's patrol units, Animal Control, Air Watch, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and Tiger Haven, a big cat rescue in Roane County, have joined forces to locate and apprehend the tiger, a sheriff's office statement said.

Knox County sheriff's Deputy Andy Wilson spotted the tiger Wednesday night in the Forks of the River Industrial Park, which he said rose out of the French Broad River, crossed the road and disappeared into a mass of kudzu.

Knoxville police dispatch said there was another reported sighting of the tiger around 7 a.m. Thursday near Thorngrove Pike in Knoxille and multiple calls overnight of possible sightings around John Sevier Highway near Thorngrove Pike and on Bales Lane.

"I'm out with a tiger cub," Wilson said while calling into dispatch about 7:30 p.m. Wednesday to report seeing the animal.


The Knox County Sheriff's Office announced the spotting in a Facebook post, which had link attached for more information on its website, urging anyone with information to contact the sheriff's office.

Zoo Knoxville and Tiger Haven said none of their tigers was missing, so the mystery deepened about where the animal came from.

Phil Colclough, a tiger expert from Zoo Knoxville, said it's "absolutely possible and absolutely likely," that a bobcat or cougar could have been mistaken for a tiger.

Animal rescuers have called off an active search due to lack of new sightings, but on-duty officers still will respond to tiger sighting calls, officials said.

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