We previously discussed how a Chinese zoo displayed a lion that caused a bit of a commotion when it suddenly barked. The zoo could to afford a lion so it made a large dog into a lion. An Italian circus in Brescia has proven even more daring – and dishonest. It dyed two chow-chow dogs to pretend that they were pandas. It did not seem odd to many people that a small zoo would have not one but two of the endangered animals.
The zoo was charging for children to take pictures with the pandas. When customers expressed their suspicions, the owner would say that they were half panda, half dog — some of those common hybrid progeny from common panda/dog mating, I suppose.
The owner is now facing charges of animal abuse and defrauding customers. The charges include putting false information on the animals’ passports. However, here is the interesting part, it was not to claim that they were pandas but that the dogs are six months younger than claimed.