Norfolk 911 calls for 'baby lion' turns out to be a DOG!?!?!?
The first caller was fairly calm.
“I’d like to report a lion sighting,” he said.
“Say that again?” a dispatcher responded.
And thus began the drama over baby lion sightings in Norfolk on Tuesday. Police said Wednesday that they actually got three 911 calls about the “lion.”
The first came at 10:19 a.m.
The animal was running on Granby Street, a male voice said.
Then a woman took the phone. She sounded anxious as she described the proximity to the zoo.
“There was a lion that ran across the street. A baby lion. It was about the size of a Labrador retriever.”
It was near Granby and 38th, she said. “It’s roaming loose in the neighborhood.”
A second call came five minutes later.
“I just saw an animal that looked like a small lion.” It had “the mange and everything,” a man said. He had seen it on Delaware Avenue near Llewellyn Avenue.
“I don’t know if it got away from the zoo, or what,” he said.
The dispatcher said they already had received a report. “I’m not sure if it actually is a lion or not, but I’ll update the information.”
A third call came at 1:19 p.m.
“I just saw a baby lion at Colley Avenue and 50th Street,” a man reported.
“What kind of animal?” the dispatcher later asked him.
“A lion. A baby lion, maybe.”
The lion was going to nearby houses. “I don’t think it has caused any problem so far,” said the caller.
“OK. You think it’s looking for food?” the dispatcher asked.
“I don’t know.”
By now, most folks know that the “baby lion” was actually Charles the Monarch, a Labrador-poodle mix owned by Daniel Painter, who lives in Riveriew and has a garden center on Colley Avenue. He has the dog groomed to look like the Old Dominion University mascot.
Many people say they see Charles out a lot, especially on Colley. But to someone who hasn’t seen him, he sure doesn’t look like a dog at first.
Coverage of the lion sightings went national on Wednesday. Charles was featured on NBC’s “Today,” where even Al Roker agreed: The dog looks like a lion.