Circus tricked kids with dogs painted as pandas

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One of the chow chow dogs seized by police. Photo: Corpo Forestale dello Stato
12:07 CET+01:00
Two painted chow chow dogs posing as pandas have been seized from a circus in northern Italy, after tricking children into handing over cash, police have said.

The male and female dogs were seized by police after it became clear that they were not, in fact, pandas.

To an unassuming child visiting the circus in Brescia, a small furry animal with white and black stripes may do the trick.

But The Local readers may notice a distinct difference. Here is a real panda:

Panda photo by Shutterstock.

And here are the dogs-in-disguise:

The police were not fooled, who said the dogs were put on display ahead of the circus show. Children posed for photos with the animals, paying a fee for the “panda” privilege.

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The environmental police moved in to seize the animals, which they said were in general good health but had particularly watery eyes. This was “probably aggravated by the continuous exposure to camera flashes”, Italy’s environmental police said in a statement.

Police moved in on animal cruelty grounds and the circus owner is facing charges over the animals’ false passports. The chow chows were imported from Hungary and were six months younger than documents stated, police said.

The circus owner could also be caught for cheating his customers out of cash. 

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