Dog Mistaken for Lion, Prompts 911 Calls

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

(CNN, VA) -- We've seen a dog at a pet show in China made to look like a panda, and a horse made to resemble a poodle. But this is the tail of a dog with such a convincing haircut that people thought he was a lion and called 911:

"And there was a lion that ran across the street a baby lion. Oh OK where.

What kind of animal? A lion a baby lion

It had the mange and everything

It was about the size of a labrador retriever."

Actually he's a labradoodle named Charlie, says his owner, but I tell people he's a lab-a-lion.

A lab-a-lion shaved like this so he can play the part of an unofficial mascot for Old Dominion University.

When the 911 calls came in, Norfolk police called the Virginia Zoo to confirm that both of its lions were secured and accounted for. That's the zoo's director posing with Charlie.

The dog and his owner. Daniel painter, live near the zoo and when people spot Charlie walking there they really freak out.

"I've seen 'em literally dive through the window to get in the car thinking a lion is after them. In the wake of the 911 calls, we're not going anywhere."

Charlie's become famous. On his Facebook page, he's getting a lion's share of "Likes."

We'd be lying if we said the color of Charlie's mane is natural. He gets his mane and the tip of his tail dyed at a groomers called "Doggie style"

Charlie needs maintenance to look like a lion about once every four months.

At least he's no cowardly lion, even if he resembles the one in the Wizard of Oz.

It's enough to give a dog a split personality. No wonder folks are in an uproar.

Charlie may not be an MGM trademark, but already he's made his mark, and he's only 3.