Charles the Monarch, a dog groomed to look like the mascot at Old Dominion University.
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Dog with mane mistaken for lion near Virginia zoo

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NORFOLK, Va. - Reports that a baby lion was roaming a Virginia neighborhood surfaced Wednesday after a dog groomed to look like a local school mascot escaped from its home.

According to a report by the Virginian-Pilot , a Labrador-poodle mix (or a "Labradoodle") with a mane-like grooming style wandering near a zoo in Norfolk, Va. unnerved several locals. Police in the area reported receiving multiple calls from citizens who claimed to have seen a lion roaming the area.

"I'd like to report a lion sighting," one caller said, according to the released 911 tapes.

"Say that again?" a dispatcher replied.

According to the article in the Virginian-Pilot, one concerned citizen believed a baby lion that shared a striking resemblance to a popular family pet had escaped from the zoo.

"There was a lion that ran across the street – a baby lion. It was about the size of a Labrador retriever," one caller said.

"I don't know if it got away from the zoo or what," another call said frantically.

As it turns out, neither Mramba, the male lion, nor Zola, the female, had escaped their habitats at the Norfolk zoo. Instead it was Charles the Monarch, a fixture on Colley Avenue where his owner, Daniel Painer, owns a garden shop. Painter, according to the Virginian-Pilot article, groomed Charles to look like the Old Dominion University mascot.

Click on the video below to see video footage of the faux lion.

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