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Lion Sighting In Virginia Turns Out To Be… A Dog Sighting
January 10, 2013
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The police got some pretty wild 911 calls in Norfolk, Virginia this week: apparently a baby lion escaped from the zoo.

Except it wasn't a lion - it was a dog named Charles, who boasts a lion-like mane.

Charles was walking near the zoo, and various people mistook him for an escaped lion cub.

Here's the first call 911 authorities received:

Maybe the best thing about the call is the nonchalant way the dispatcher responds to a report of a lion sighting.

Caller: "There was a lion that ran across the street, a baby lion."

Dispatcher: "Oh, okay."

Although you could also argue that the part where the caller compares the dog (which she thinks is a lion) to another dog ("it was about the size of a labrador retriever") is the clear winner.

The police got in touch with officials at Virginia Zoo, who assured them that their lions were all accounted for and sleeping.

Here's some footage of Charles in action. He's definitely less scary than a lion up close.

To be fair to all the people who thought they were witnessing the king of the jungle wandering the streets, Charles' owner did groom him to look lion-like - his daughter goes to school at Norfolk's Old Dominion University, and a lion is their mascot.

And as for the "king" part, his full name is "Charles the Monarch."

This isn't the first time a wandering housepet has been mistaken for a lion. In Essex, UK this past summer, there were reports of a lion roaming the area.

It turns out the animal was actually Teddy Bear, a large Maine Coon cat owned by local resident Ginny Murphy.

In that case, 25 officers were deployed to look for the "lion," and they even sent out police helicopters with thermal imaging equipment.

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