Charles the Monarch's owner pleads guilty to nuisance animal charge

NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) -- The saga continues for Charles the Monarch, the Norfolk labradoodle that keeps finding itself off a leash.

The dog's owner, Daniel Painter, pleaded guilty Friday to a nuisance animal charge he received in January, and was imposed a 60-day jail sentence and $2,500 fine, both of which were suspended. Painter also received two years probation.

For the dog -- which has gained fame as the unofficial mascot for Old Dominion University, as well as infamy for repeatedly being impounded after getting loose and wandering the streets of Norfolk -- the judge ordered that Charles be neutered at Norfolk Animal Care Center at the owner's expense by June 9.  

Charles can be returned to Painter after the owner pays all boarding and vet bills. The court also ordered the dog be kept on a leash at all times, even if Painter claims Charles is a service animal.

Painter is still facing another nuisance animal charge stemming from an April 27 incident . That charge was continued to August, to evaluate Painter's compliance in the meantime. 

Overall, the popular pooch has been impounded at least five times since 2010, including one time in 2013 when Charles got loose and several 911 calls warned of a "baby lion" strolling down the streets of Norfolk, hunting for its next meal.

The "lion dog" is often quickly recognized for having his fur coat is trimmed to resemble the ODU mascot Big Blue. Charles once had a Facebook fan page that described him as "just your everyday party animal," and even has his own children's book published.

PHOTOS: 'Charles the Lion Dog' behind bars

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