If you attended a circus in Italy recently to see some pandas you might have been a little disappointed – probably because the ‘pandas’ were just painted dogs.
Police seized several of the ‘pandas’ from a circus in Brescia, Italy, after locals paid to pose with the animals, only to discover they were clearly dogs.
Although the dogs were healthy when police raided the circus, they were said to have ‘watery eyes’, which may have resulted from the camera flashes they were subjected to all day as duped customers mistook them for pandas.
The circus is being charged with animal cruelty and falsifying the dogs’ passports.
Despite painting them to look like the endangered oriental bears, the circus owners say they would never hurt their dogs.
The circus secretar, Riccardo Gravina reportedly told IBTimes: ‘No animal was mistreated. They are like children to us.’
He also claimed the circus could not be accused of misleading the public because it was ‘obvious they are dogs’.
Just in case you need reminding what a real panda looks like…