Dog mistaken for lion prompts 911 calls
The friendly Labradoodle in Norfolk, Va., is groomed to resemble Old Dominion University's lion mascot.
Mon, Jan 14, 2013 at 12:17 PM
Photo: Fred Lee/Getty Images
A 4-year-old Labradoodle caused quite the uproar in Norfolk, Va., recently.
Charles the Monarch, a Labradoor-poodle mix, was wandering the streets near his home when panicked passers-by started calling 911 to report lion sightings.
After the third call about a “baby lion” loose in the city, the Norfolk Police Department contacted the local zoo to make sure all of its lions were accounted for.
“We all looked at each other like, ‘Could it be?’” Greg Bockheim, the Virginia Zoo executive director, told CNN affiliate WAVY.
Zoo workers rushed to the lions’ habitat only to find both of their lions, Mramba and Zola, fast asleep.
It turns out that the baby lion that had been spotted was actually Charles the Monarch out for a stroll after a recent visit to the dog groomer.
Daniel Painter, Charles’ owner, has the dog shaved and coiffed to resemble a lion, Old Dominion University’s mascot. Painter adopted the dog when his daughter, Natalie, began her freshman year at the school.
It wasn’t the first time Charles has prompted 911 calls. Painter said police have told him on several occasions that his dog was mistaken for a lion.
"I tell people he's a Lab-a-lion, and half the people believe that,” Painter told "Good Morning America."
Now that people realize Charles isn’t the king of the jungle but simply a friendly lookalike, his popularity has skyrocketed. The pooch has more than 50,000 Facebook fans and 1,200 Twitter followers.
Charles also recently teamed up with Gerrard Larriett Aromatherapy Pet Care to raise funds for Big Cat Rescue. The partnership aims to raise $10,000 for the animal sanctuary by donating 10 percent of the proceeds from the sale of Gerrard Larriett products. Customers will receive 25 percent off their purchase with the promo code "Charles."
Check out a video of Charles the Monarch below.
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