A sheriff’s deputy in northeast Iowa shot and killed a bengal tiger Wednesday afternoon. Chickasaw County Sheriff Marty Larsen says it happened after he and two deputies were called to Dawn Schmitt’s home about four miles northeast of New Hampton. Schmitt and her husband, Joseph, keep several exotic pets on their farm.
Larsen says Schmitt reported that the tiger got out of its pen and attacked the family dog — a collie. “When we arrived on the scene, the tiger was on top of the collie, just mauling it and wouldn’t let it up,” Larsen said.
The dog eventually got free. “The dog ran up to one of the deputy’s cars,” Larsen says, “and the tiger slammed into it, right up against the sqaud car. The deputy had his window partially down and had his rifle ready. He shot the tiger right there.”
The dog was rushed to the veterinarian and is said to be doing fine. Larsen says Schmitt knew when she called the sheriff’s office that the one-year-old tiger might be shot. “We’ve known that these animals were up there,” Larsen says, “and I warned her a long time ago that if any of those animals got out that we only had one option.”
The family also has two cougars and a bear. They could be losing those soon. Larsen says he’s contacted the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which regulates exotic pets and they’ve informed him that Schmitt does not have licenses for the animals.
Radio Iowa called the Schmitt’s home, but the person who answered said they would have no comment.