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Taizhou Zoo in China Slammed Over Dog Pandas

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Screenshot: The Taizhou Zoo in Jiangsu, China dyed two chow chows dogs and advertised them as "Dog Pandas"

A zoo in China has been accused of attempting to trick visitors over dog pandas by dyeing two dogs black and white to resemble panda bears. Videos circulating on Chinese social media show the two “panda dogs” at an exhibit at Taizhou Zoo, in the eastern province of Jiangsu, which opened on May 1.

Though the dog pandas are designed to resemble pandas, which are unique to China and an iconic symbol of the country, their swinging tails reveal their identity.

Zoo administrators claimed Chinese state media that they were Chow Chows, a fluffy dog breed native to northern China, painted black and white to resemble gigantic pandas, and that they had explicitly sold them as “panda dogs” without making any misleading claims.

The dogs are still at the zoo, officials told NBC News by phone on Friday, and the number of people visiting them is “at a normal level.”

Despite the fact that the zoo does not have real pandas, state media and others have attacked it for misleading visitors and mistreating the dogs.

“It is not funny at all to dye Chow Chow dogs to attract tourists,” one Weibo user said. “Their fragile skin and naturally thick coats make them susceptible to skin diseases.”

Zoo administrators defended the exhibit, claiming that the dogs were unharmed.

“Normal people dye their hair,” a spokesman told NBC News. “Dogs can also dye their hair. It is the same as hair.

In 2019, a dog cafe in the southern province of Sichuan prompted animal rights issues with its six Chow Chows that had also been dyed to resemble bears.

In 2020, in the same province, a “panda” walked by a woman in a viral video was discovered to be a dyed Chow Chow.

Other Chinese zoos have also been accused of keeping phony animals, usually dogs disguised as wolves or African cats.

After a video showing one of its Malayan sun bears standing like a person went viral in July, a zoo in the eastern province of Zhejiang denied that the bears were humanoid.

Experts refuted the story, and the zoo stated that a person wearing a fur suit would not be able to tolerate such hot summer conditions.

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