SPEARFISH, S.D. -

A Lawrence County deputy has shot a tiger that bit an employee at the Spirit of the Hills Wildlife Sanctuary in Spearfish.

A sanctuary employee reported to authorities late Monday that the tiger was loose.

Authorities found an employee bitten several times by the tiger when they arrived. Officials say a deputy shot the tiger to prevent it from escaping through an open gate.

The bitten employee was taken to Spearfish Regional Hospital. A telephone message left by The Associated Press at the wildlife sanctuary wasn't immediately returned.

The Lawrence County Sheriff's Office is investigating the incident.

The the U.S. Department of Agriculture is removing 11 animals from the sanctuary. An agency spokeswoman tells the newspaper that officials have been at the facility since Sept. 28.