911 CALLS: Hear Virginians mistake a labradoodle for a lion

Posted at 7:00 AM, Jan 10, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-10 12:44:13-05

VIRGINIA BEACH (WTVR) - It's been a whirlwind 24 hours for Charles the labradoodle. His picture has been plastered coast to coast, his image featured on network news--and it's all because of his signature haircut.

Charles' owner, Daniel Painter, happens to be a big Old Dominion University fan, and he's groomed the 3-year-old pooch to look just like their mascot Big Blue the lion. Apparently he's done too good of a job though, as the site of the pup romping on a Virginia Beach street sent nearby drivers into a panic.

Newly released 911 tapes capture passersby fear and confusion.

"And there was a lion that ran across the street a baby lion," a fearful woman told a 911 operator.

"I saw a lion. A baby lion!" another man cried to 911. "It had the mange [sic] and everything."

He added very tellingly: "It was about the size of a labrador retriever."

Painter and Charles actually live near the Virginia zoo, and Painter says this isn't the first time people have been fooled by the pooch.

"I've seen 'em literally dive through the window to get in the car thinking a lion is after them," he told CNN. "

Painter also revealed the secret to Charles' oh-so-realistic coif. It's really a dye job. Charles gets his mane  and tail colored about every four months,