A lion on the loose caused panic when local residents spotted it prowling the streets.
Police in the town of Norfolk, Virginia, were alerted to the dangerous beast and were so concerned they urgently contacted the local zoo to see whether one of their big cats had escaped.
When the zoo confirmed that none of its lions had broken free worried officers sent out a crack squad, only to find that an entirely different animal was wandering the streets.
The 'fearsome predator' in question was in fact 'Charles, the Monarch', a friendly Labradoodle whose fur had been shaved to resemble a giant cat.
The four-year-old dog was given the bizarre haircut to look like the mascot of Old Dominion University, which the owner's daughter attends.
Local businessman Daniel Painter said 'Charles' had been regularly mistaken for a lion.
He said: "I tell people he's a Lab-a-lion, and half the people believe that."
Daniel’s daughter Natalie, added: "I'm like the girl behind the lion dog around campus. I love how school spirited my dad and dog have become.
"Charles has been a key feature on campus for a few years now, and we would like to see him be recognised by the university.
"I'll sit on campus to do homework and look up to see a crowd of students and faculty running after Charles with cameras in hand.
"It's remarkable how involved the community has become with my dog."
The Labradoodle is well known in the area and has 12,000 likes on his Facebook page.