Animal lovers at a Chinese zoo received a shocking disappointment this week when an animal advertised as an African lion was discovered to be a dog in disguise, according to a report in Beijing Youth Daily.
The fraudulent Fido–a large, long-haired Tibetan mastiff–revealed itself when it began barking at zoo customers at People’s Park of Luohe, located in the central province of Henan.
A woman identified by the surname Liu, who had been teaching her son to identify animals by the sounds they make, was one of the first patrons to discover the fake.
“The zoo is absolutely cheating us,” she told the local paper. Liu was charged 15 yuan ($2.70) for her ticket.
Immediate reactions on Sina Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, conveyed further disappointment in the zoo in their attempt to mislead customers.
“This is not funny at all. It’s sad for both the zoo and the animals,” posted a user.
Zoo officials attempted to explain the incident by saying the real lion had been taken to a breeding facility and a zookeeper’s dog was placed inside of its pen temporarily for “safety reasons,” wrote the Daily.
But locals weren’t letting them off the hook so easy, especially after further inquiry uncovered more misidentified animals inside of the zoo: two coypu rodents in a snake’s cage, a white fox in a leopard’s den, and yet another dog in a wolf’s pen.