Police received a number of calls from residents in Norfolk, Virginia with claims that a lion was on the loose.
Authorities soon investigated, at first liaising with Virginia Zoo and checking that none of their own big cats had managed to escape.
It emerged that the lion on the loose was actually a local dog named Charles the Monarch.
Owner Daniel Painter had Charles, a cross between a Labrador retriever and a poodle, shaved to resemble the Old Dominion University mascot.
He admitted that his pooch - whose Facebook page currently has more than 23,000 likes - is frequently mistaken for a lion.
Painter told The Virginian-Pilot: "I tell people he's a lab-a-lion, and half the people believe that."
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