Dog mistaken for a lion leads to 911 call

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Charles with Virginia Zoo Executive Director Greg Bockheim

When a 911 call came in on Tuesday the caller reported they had seen a lion cub on the loose in Norfolk, Virginia. Police responding to the report called the zoo to make sure their two lions were in fact still in their cages. It turns out a lion cub wasn’t on the loose, a Labradoodle was.

Charles the Monarch is a fun loving Labradoodle. His owner, Daniel Painter, has him shaved to look like Old Dominion University’s mascot, Big Blue. Painter often takes Charles with him to his business on Colley Avenue, the same street where the 911 caller thought they saw a lion cub.

This isn’t Charles’ first incident of mistaken identity. Police have received reports previously of people seeing a lion when it really was just Charles. Painter has also experienced people running to their cars in shock when he takes Charles to a park by the zoo. “They think it’s a lion out there,” said Painter. “I tell people he’s a Lab-a-lion, and half the people believe that.”