Dogs disguised as pandas deceive crowds at zoo
Published: May 06, 2024 07:20 PM
A zoo in East China's Jiangsu Province has recently put on display two Chow Chow dogs dyed black and white to resemble giant pandas to attract more visitors. The decision has raised some eyebrows and questions about the legality of such a scheme.

According to video clips posted by visitors on Douyin, the Chinese equivalent of TikTok, since Friday, visitors to the zoo, located in Taizhou, Jiangsu Province, have noticed some misleading language on the tickets. The tickets read "Xiong Mao Quan," which translates literally to "panda dogs." 

This deceptive tactic may have led visitors to misunderstand what was on offer.

"Inevitably the visitors will feel disappointed and deceived upon discovering the truth," some lawyers said in media reports.
Video screen shot from social media Photo:

Video screenshot from social media Photo:

The Xiong Mao Quan has been rolled out for the May Day holidays with tickets priced at 20 yuan ($2.8) per adult and 10 yuan per child taller than 1.4 meters to see them. 

A worker employed by the zoo told the Global Times on Monday that the zoo does not consider their scheme to be a case of fraud. 

"This is just a new display we offer to visitors. We are not charging extra. The wording featuring Chow Chow dogs is correct and exactly describes what they are, so we are not cheating our visitors," a ticket seller stated. 

At the same time, she admitted that the visit volume has increased in the past few days. 

According to other media reports, the zoo has confirmed that they have dyed Chow Chow dogs using a pattern that is similar to giant pandas to "fill in the blank" as they don't have giant pandas in the zoo. 

However, such marketing move has triggered a heated discussion among Chinese netizens. Some netizens have expressed concerns, raising the question of whether dyeing Chow Chow dogs can be considered a type of animal abuse. In response, a professional pet beautician said that for healthy pets, it is acceptable to get their hair dyed, as long as organic plant-based ingredients are applied.  

Chen, a visitor who posted a video clip that went viral online, said that the area around the zoo experienced traffic jams and after hearing passersby talking about giant pandas she decided to head to the local zoo to see them, however, once arrived to the display area, she realized the displayed animals were not giant pandas at all, but Chow Chow dogs. 

Liu Qiuming, a staff member of the Taizhou Zoo, said that the zoo is not a high-level facility and the "giant panda" scheme was introduced to attract more visitors and improve their experience.