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Circus animals found in Arkansas to be sent to Germany

Posted September 12
Updated September 13

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)

— Seven tigers, six lions and a 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 on Saturday in Weiner, Arkansas.

The Poinsett County Sheriff's Office went to the scene after receiving an anonymous tip, according to Randy Zellers, spokesman for Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.

"They were sitting in their cages, looking at us," Sheriff Kevin Molder said. "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 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.

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.

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

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