The Lion That Was a Dog

Here at McLeod Governance we just love a good ‘pull the wool over your eyes’ story and none more so than in the pages of Honestly Lay Bare.

Today’s instalment in the series that has no ending will, however, be hard to top.

We couldnt make this up if we tried:

A Chinese zoo’s supposed “African lion” was exposed as a fraud when the dog used as a substitute started barking.

The zoo in the People’s Park of Luohe, in the central province of Henan, replaced exotic exhibits with common species, according to the state-run Beijing Youth Daily.

It quoted a mother who was visiting the zoo to show her son the different sounds animals made – but he pointed out that the animal in the cage labelled African lion was barking.

The beast was in fact a Tibetan mastiff, a large and long-haired breed of dog.

The purpose, however, of today’s post is not to mock central Chinese zoo management but rather to ask the serious question about instances in your organisation where you have been sold a pup … as as the case may be in this instance a lion.

When have you been told that everything is one thing and it turns out to be another?

As you read this McLeod Governance can guarantee that you are simultaneously thinking of one such instance.

For us it happened early in our career – indeed in one of our first ever audits.

I was working with an Accounts Payable Manager that was incredibly helpful and always made sure that he stayed back until we finished to be on hand to answer any questions.

The records that he provided us with were immaculate.

His responses to our queries were instantaneous.

And yet I – and the team that I was part of – felt incredibly uncomfortable.

We, however, decided to see the dog as a lion and it was to our detriment.

Months later the ‘lion’ was exposed as a serial defrauder of the company.

It was a lesson learnt early and learnt well.

And – so you ask – what was the story behind the dog in the lion’s den at the Chinese zoo:

Three other species housed incorrectly included two coypu rodents in a snake’s cage, a white fox in a leopard’s den, and another dog in a wolf pen.

The chief of the park’s animal department, Liu Suya, told the paper that while it does have a lion, it had been taken to a breeding facility and the dog, which belonged to an employee, had been temporarily housed in the zoo over safety concerns.

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