This “panda” café is serving up some controversy with its cute and cuddly creations.
The Cute Pet Games café, which opened last month in Chengdu, China, is catching some flak from the animal activist community for dyeing Chow Chow dogs to look like panda bears.
The owner of the café, surnamed Huang, dyed each of the six dogs to look like China’s national animal — and they have since been the stars of the new pet café. In addition to serving food and drink to customers, the shop also reportedly provides a pet dyeing service to owners who are interested in sprucing up their pooch.
However, this practice has caused a lot of concerns for the animal’s welfare, with many critics claiming the dye could potentially damage the fur and skin of the dog.
PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange called the stunt "stressful" in a statement to Fox News.
"There are far better ways to show appreciation for pandas than by using sensitive dogs as dyeable decorative displays. Coating dogs with chemical dyes is stressful and can even cause allergic reactions on their skin, nose, and eyes. PETA urges travelers to stay away from any business that exploits animals for a money-grabbing gimmick and social media 'likes.'"
Those on Twitter echoed the sentiment.
However, Huang has defended his practice, telling Hongxing News that his dogs are happy and healthy and that he imports his dye from Japan, which is reportedly nontoxic to the animals.
"Every time we dye it costs 1,500 yuan ($211)," he says. "The dye is really expensive."
Dyeing the coats of animals has become a popular trend in China since the early 2010s, BBC reports.