Another way of looking at it is that this Italian traveling circus simply wanted to bring cheer to the kids.
Still, the owner was charged with using false documents after it was discovered that the two pandas in his show were actually chow chow puppies dyed black and white, the Guardian reported.
According to local forestry police, who aside from protecting the environment also handle cases involving animals, the circus staff were charging members of the audience to have their pictures taken with the fake pandas.
“It happened regularly before the start of the show,” a spokeswoman for the forestry corps was quoted as saying.
Acting on a complaint, the forestry rangers, accompanied by vets, raided the circus in Brescia, around 100 kilometers east of Milan.
The vets said the dogs were in good health. But their eyes were watery, probably because they were exposed to continuous flashes of cameras, the spokeswoman said.
The authorities decided to leave the dogs with the owners, but on condition that they would no longer be used for impersonation.
The forestry corps said the dogs had been imported from Hungary. According to their false pet passports, the dogs were six months old, but officers believe the dogs were much younger.
The owner could also be charged with fraud and animal cruelty, the report said.
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