Alisa Manzelli, Global Animal
A labradoodle with a very convincing haircut has caused quite an uproar amongst residents of Norfolk, Virginia this week after being mistaken for a lion roaming the streets of their quiet neighborhoods.
A flurry of 911 calls by panicked passerbys inundated the Norfolk Police Department.
“I’d like to report a lion sighting,” a man said in a 911 call.
“Say that again?” a dispatcher responded.
A few minutes later, another call came in.
“I just saw an animal that looked like a small lion,” another man said. “Had the mane and everything … I don’t know if it got away from the zoo, or what.”
The police immediately contacted the Virginia zoo to ensure its two lions were caged and 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 scurried to the lions’ cages, but all of the big cats were fast asleep.
In fact, one caller even described the the “baby lion” as the size of a Labrador retriever.
With a dyed tail and a fluffy coat groomed to resemble a lion’s mane by professional groomers, DoggyStyle, this king of canines is actually a Labrador-poodle mix named Charles the Monarch.
His guardian, Daniel Painter, said the dog’s one-of-a-kind hairstyle represents the lion mascot at the Old Dominion University.
[quote]”I tell people he’s a Lab-a-lion,” Painter says, “and half the people believe that.”[/quote]
In the wake of the 911 calls, three-year-old Charlie is growing even more famous and making his rounds on national morning shows.
His Facebook page chronicling his life as a “party animal” has also gone viral since his sighting on Tuesday with over 40,000 Likes.
According to his most recent Facebook status, in light of all his new friends, Charles plans to start working on his autobiography.