Tiger in bathroom greets Kansas woman at circus

Tiger in bathroom: The big cat had escaped briefly after its turn in the ring Saturday at the Isis Shrine Circus in Salina.

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    A tiger checks out visitors near his enclosure in Tiger Haven, a sanctuary and rescue facility for big cats located on 40 wooded acres in eastern Tennessee.
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A central Kansas woman likely won't remember her first circus for the clowns or performances — it'll be the tiger in the bathroom.

The big cat had escaped briefly after its turn in the ring Saturday at the Isis Shrine Circus in Salina. Staff members blocked off the concourses at the Bicentennial Center as the tiger wandered into the bathroom, where one of the doors was blockaded.

About that time, Salina resident Jenna Krehbiel decided she needed to use the restroom. When she walked in the door that hadn't been blocked off, she found a tiger standing about 2 feet away, The Salina Journal reported.

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"You don't expect to go in a bathroom door, have it shut behind you and see a tiger walking toward you," Krehbiel said.

Chris Bird, manager at the Bicentennial Center, said the bathroom was only 25 feet long.

"Once she saw the tiger, I'm sure she knew to go the other way," Bird said. "Overall, it was a scary, surreal moment. I am glad no one was hurt or injured."

The tiger was captured within minutes and returned to its enclosure.

Krehbiel, a social worker, said she didn't scream or run because she is trained to stay calm.

"Looking back, it was a scary ordeal," she said. "At the time, I was thinking I just needed to get out."

Krehbiel said her 3-year-old daughter had a different reaction.

"My daughter wanted to know if it had washed its hands," Krehbiel said. "That was her only concern. I think that shows the thoughts of children and that they wouldn't have known there was danger."

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