NORFOLK, Va., Jan. 10 (UPI) -- Authorities in Virginia said they received numerous 911 calls about a "lion sighting" that turned out to be a fluffy dog groomed to resemble the big cat.
Norfolk police said they received several 911 calls Tuesday about an animal resembling a small lion walking the streets of the city, CNN reported Thursday.
"I'd like to report a lion sighting," one 911 caller said.
"I just saw an animal that looked like a small lion," another caller said. "Had the mane and everything ... I don't know if it got away from the zoo, or what."
The police department contacted the Virginia Zoo to make sure its lions were kept contained.
The animal turned out to be Charles the Monarch, a Labrador-poodle mix owned by Daniel Painter.
Painter said his dog's hair has been trimmed and dyed to resemble the mascot from his alma mater, Old Dominion University.
Moose seen wandering Vt. ski resort
WARREN, Vt., Jan. 10 (UPI) -- A Vermont ski resort said a wandering moose had caused trails and lifts to be temporarily shut down when the animal wanders into different areas.
The Sugarbush Resort in Warren said hundreds of people have reported seeing the moose in various locations during the past two weeks, and lifts and trails have occasionally been shut down temporarily until the animal wanders back into the woods, WCAX-TV, Burlington, reported Thursday.
Skier Jeff Palmer, 19, has had the closest documented encounter with the moose.
"I looked over my shoulder and it was closing in on me very fast," Palmer said. "My life flashed before my eyes when I looked back."
"Once it went away I was like wow, did that really happen?" he said.
Dave Lecours of the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department said moose sightings are not uncommon at ski resorts.
"Not unusual to have a moose in the ski areas; they are cut out of the big broad woods," he said.
Officials said there are no plans to kill or capture the moose as it does not appear to pose a threat to skiers.
Dog found 5 months later, 350 miles away
ROSEMEAD, Calif., Jan. 10 (UPI) -- A California woman said her lost dog was found wandering the streets 350 miles from her home after a bizarre call asking for ransom.
Marlene Bolivar of Rosemead said Lucky, a 4-year-old Pomeranian, ran out of her family's back yard in August and they received a call a few weeks later from a woman who asked how much they would be willing to pay for the canine's return, KTLA-TV, Los Angeles, reported Thursday.
"I don't really have a lot of money, so I didn't offer a big amount," Bolivar said. "The lady told me let me see what my friends say, and I'll give you a call back."
The woman never called back and the family eventually lost hope of seeing the dog again.
However, Bolivar said she received a call five months later from Animal Control officers in Sacramento, more than 350 miles from her home, saying Lucky had been found wandering the streets and identified using his implanted microchip.
Authorities said they do not know how the dog made the trip or where he has been since August.
"He's not talking. I've asked him repeatedly how he got here, and he's not talking," Sacramento Animal Control Officer Gina Knepp joked.
The dog is now on his way back home to Bolivar's family, Animal Control said.
Snake hitches ride on plane
CAIRNS, Australia, Jan. 10 (UPI) -- A nearly 10-foot python hitched a ride on a Qantas flight out of Australia Thursday, much to the amazement of passengers.
The snake, a scrub python, was spotted on the wing of the Qantas flight to Papua New Guinea around 6:15 a.m., The Sydney Morning Herald reported.
"The people at the front were oblivious to what was going on but the passengers at the back were all totally focused on the snake and how it might have got onto the aircraft," said passenger Robert Weber. "There was no panic. At no time did anyone stop to consider that there might be others on board."
Weber said people in the back of the plane watched as the flight became "a life-and-death struggle for the snake."
"I felt quite sad for it, really. For the remainder of the flight, he was trying to pull himself back into the plane, even though he was fighting against 400km/h winds. The cabin crew told us that at cruising altitude, it was minus 12 degrees outside -- but not even that was able to finish him," Weber said.
It was unclear whether the snake was found dead or alive when the plane landed in Port Moresby.
A Qantas spokeswoman said, "We have never heard of this happening before."