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Circus animals found in Arkansas to be sent to Germany

WEINER, Ark. (AP) – Seven tigers, six lions and one leopard that were recently discovered by authorities in a warehouse in northeastern Arkansas will soon be flown to Germany.

The former Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus animals were found in good health in Weiner, Arkansas, on Saturday.

Randy Zellers, spokesman for Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, said the Poinsett County Sheriff’s Department went to the scene after receiving an anonymous tip.

This photo provided by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission shows a tiger in a cage Monday, Sept. 11, 2017, at a barn near Weiner, Ark. The agency is investigating the discovery of multiple big cats at the location on Saturday, Sept. 9, that authorities suspect were going to shipped to Germany. (Arkansas Game and Fish Commission via AP)

“They were sitting in their cages, looking at us,” said Sheriff Kevin Molder. “I’ve never been that close to animals like that. It was a sight.”

Zeller said the animals’ British owner possessed the appropriate paperwork, but that he hadn’t alerted Poinsett County that he would be temporarily holding the animals in Arkansas.

“They were in transport,” Zellers said. “Poinsett County was just basically a layover for them.”

Wildlife officers have been monitoring the animals since they were found.

“There was no way they could escape,” Zellers said.

The big cats will fly to Germany from the Memphis International Airport on Tuesday, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported. Memphis, Tennessee, is about 70 miles (110 kilometers) southeast of Weiner, Arkansas.

Last week, a tiger from the same group of animals was killed after escaping near Atlanta, Georgia. Officers shot the 6-year-old tiger when it attacked a dog at a residence.

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Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com

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