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That’s No Panda! Italian Circus in Hot Water After Trying to Pass Off Adorable Dogs as the Endangered Species

"Ugh, bamboo again? I distinctly remember ordering a fine leather shoe."

No one will ever suspect.

All sorts of things are trying to pass themselves off as pandas these days and I just will not stand for it! The panda is a proud species and deserves our… OMFG PANDA DOGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

New profile pic? Me thinks so.

According to International Business Times, the Orfei circus was passing off two white chow chow dogs (partially painted black) as pandas and charging for photos.

Police raided the circus premises as it was on a tour stop near the northern town of Brescia, after a tip-off by animal activists.

Members of the Animal Protection Party group, who paid an undercover visit to the circus to gather possible evidence of animal mistreatment, said they were surprised to spot the two weird-looking exotic bears.

“As soon as our volunteers got closer they realised the animals had nothing to do with the East Asian bears but were chow chow dogs painted as pandas,” the group’s chairman, Fabrizio Catelli, told Il Giorno newspaper.

The pandadogs are apparently in good health except for “excessive eye-watering,” likely due to the camera flashes they took in every day. But the circus insists they never actually claimed the fluffy-poos were pandas. “It’s obvious they are dogs,” circus secretary, Riccardo Gravina told IBT. “No animal was mistreated. They are like children to us.”

The story goes on to mention something about illegally forged dog passports and well, thank you and good night, everyone! I’m out!


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Jill Pantozzi is a pop-culture journalist and host who writes about all things nerdy and beyond! She’s Editor in Chief of the geek girl culture site The Mary Sue (Abrams Media Network), and hosts her own blog “Has Boobs, Reads Comics” ( She co-hosts the Crazy Sexy Geeks podcast along with superhero historian Alan Kistler, contributed to a book of essays titled “Chicks Read Comics,” (Mad Norwegian Press) and had her first comic book story in the IDW anthology, “Womanthology.” In 2012, she was featured on National Geographic’s "Comic Store Heroes," a documentary on the lives of comic book fans and the following year she was one of many Batman fans profiled in the documentary, "Legends of the Knight."