Couple Facing Fine for Calling 911 to Rescue Dog

A Missouri couple distressed by the sudden collapse of their beloved Great Dane called 911 for help. That call has them in hot water with police, who slapped them with a fine the following day.

According to Fox2Now, “Police said a 911 recording showed Rose Lakey clearly said her “daughter” needed help. She didn`t deny it; it could have happened given her hysterical state. Still, she said she knows she said “dog” at the beginning of the call. The Lakeys hoped for a little more understanding from police.”

Rose and Randy Lakey are due in O’Fallon, Missouri Municipal Court next month.


  1. Cheryl says on  04/25/2012 at 12:36 pm

    When you have police officers, firemen, and EMT personnel going out of their way to help animals, it sure makes for bad publicity when a police dept pulls this kind of stunt…that ticket needs to be cancelled immediately and an apology ensue. These people pay taxes too. I’m betting the judge lets them off.

  2. Hard to say.

  3. Rhonda says on  04/25/2012 at 5:32 pm

    NO FINE! is your pet part of the family or not?

  4. James says on  04/25/2012 at 5:32 pm

    how about a ferret emergency? You have to draw the line, sadly.

  5. Jasmin says on  04/25/2012 at 5:32 pm

    I called 911 aboout a dog that was left outside without food or water..The Officer that arrived was wonderful..He went out of his way to help the poor doggie.

  6. Carol says on  04/25/2012 at 5:33 pm

    Can they not have numbers to divert the call? I called 911 when following a drunk driver and they diverted the call to local police. Didn’t take very long with the 911 dispatcher.

  7. Penny says on  04/25/2012 at 5:33 pm

    I have loved/lived with dogs my whole life, with no plans to change. 911 is for human rescue, period.

    • Anonymous says on  04/25/2012 at 7:20 pm

      911 is not just for Human Rescue you are totally wrong Penny.

      • Anonymous says on  04/25/2012 at 9:11 pm

        Thank u anonymous person. Penny is wrong. Maybe they should have a service that is just dedicated to pet emergencies.

  8. Melissa says on  04/25/2012 at 5:33 pm

    depends if you like dogs better than humans!

  9. Debbi says on  04/25/2012 at 5:33 pm

    I agree, very hard to say, I see both sides. I don’t think there is a right answer.

  10. thing is, we are thought that in case of emergency, when you need rescue, to call 911. When something happen to our pet (who’s a family member) it’s an emergency. They will have to change something to have rescue come if we call for our pets.

  11. Jean says on  04/25/2012 at 5:34 pm

    no fine-

  12. What’s your first thought when something like that happens to a human loved one? There is not any different Stress responds are stress responds.

  13. How many times have you called the cops for locking your keys in the car. If it has a heartbeat it should be helped. Within reason. If you lock your fish in the car it can probably wait till you get your spare set. Just sayin

  14. There needs to be a Veterinary version of ‘911’.

  15. wrong. they needed to call their emergency pet clinic or a vet. However 911 should not charge them for the call. For over 30 years we have been drilled to call 911 in response to an emergency. It was an emergency and having friends that are firerescue personnel and a son as well. I know they would respond without question. Most rescue personel love animals as well and try to help others wether biped or quadra-ped.

  16. Don says on  04/25/2012 at 5:35 pm

    If she said that it was her dog, 911 should have either helped or told her that they don’t do animal calls. If she said it was her daughter, she’s in trouble. People call 911 for all kinds of things (sometimes dumb but usually not) and it’s up to the police to prioritize the calls.

  17. Veronica says on  04/25/2012 at 5:35 pm

    I used the live in the same city as these people. There are plenty of emergency vets. Human paramedics are not equipped to restrain or handle a sick or injured animal. They could hurt themselves and the animal. I had rottweilers in this city and I knew exactly where the emergency animal clinic was and the phone number.

  18. Dena says on  04/25/2012 at 5:35 pm

    It’s a tough call but considering that people call 911 because they don’t like their drive thru service at McDonald’s and waste our dispatchers time with idiotic calls like that, I’m not upset to hear about a dog needing actual emergency help.

  19. I would gladly pay a fine to have my furry kidz rescued….

  20. Linda says on  04/25/2012 at 5:35 pm

    Wow thats sad!

  21. Karen says on  04/25/2012 at 5:35 pm

    My first thought would be: Dog, Keys, Phone, Emergency Vet…all at once.

  22. Cecilia says on  04/25/2012 at 5:35 pm

    NO fine. My dog IS my daughter, my baby, my child. People call 911 for the most ridiculous reasons, this IS NOT ridiculous. Though I am thankful our city has a 24 hour ER center for animals. Thank you, Chicago.

  23. no fine

  24. Oh you are kidding!!! I would have called them too if it was my dog!

  25. This is a unique situation because the Dane may have been too large to lift. What else could they do?? A ferret emergency wouldn’t quite be the same thing. Worst case, they should be instructed where to place their call next time. If I panicked I would probably call 911 too. It’s embedded in your mind.

  26. it is hard to say …but how many of us say that our pets are our “other” children

  27. I have often wondered who I could call if there was a pet emergency that I couldn’t handle. There should be a similar service to 911 even for animals.

  28. Sorry, but I agree with the fine, 911 is for humans, they should have loaded the dog in their car and gone to a vet, I love my dogs but sheeeeesssh, would never endanger another person by having 911 respond!!

  29. 911 should be for any human or animal in distress.

  30. Why not just tell them 911 isn’t for dogs and drop the fine.

  31. Sue says on  04/25/2012 at 5:36 pm

    As one firefighter explained to me, the reason they go into buildings to rescue dogs and cats is to prevent the human caretakers of those animals from rushing into a building, putting themselves at risk without the training and skills a firefighter has. They see rescuing the animals as part of their job of rescuing/protecting humans. This doesn’t have to be an either/or proposition.

  32. Kym says on  04/25/2012 at 5:36 pm

    Dogs are PPL too! At least to those of us who love our dogs like family. I’d call 911 also if no other option.

  33. 911 is for human emergencies or reporting a crime. Dog emergencies should be called in to a vet. It’s not like the 911 dispatcher or responder will be trained in veterinary medicine.

  34. I have a feeling this ends up getting dismissed when in front of a judge. Should the police have reminded them of the non-emergency numbers during the call? Yes. Slapped them with a citation for it? I don’t think so. It’s not like they crank called and had malicious intent. They panicked and made a mistake.

  35. Elizabeth says on  04/25/2012 at 5:36 pm

    i don’t think the couple shouldn’t be fined BUT in this situation they probably shouldn’t have called 911. 24-7 emergency vets are for these types of issues. once my dog got a poisoned frog at 2am, i called the vet. 911 is for animal abuse such as dogs locked in a car/house/yard with no food/water etc as Jasmin said. that said, i’d call 911 in a heart beat if needed.

  36. It would be nice if communities had a 911-type service for animals. But I do not think this family should be fined in this case. It was not meant as a prank.

  37. I love my animals but i would not call 911 it is for humans with serious medical calls, violent crimes. fires. they dont have tme to report to dog or cat or any other animal problems. even though i would not put one of those stickers on my windows to rescue my pet, i wouldnt. I wouldnt want anybody to lose their life. not worth it. even though my heart would break. i just think a humans life is over a pets.

  38. Shelley says on  04/25/2012 at 5:37 pm

    It isn’t about “we pay taxes”. 911 dispatch services are not equipped to provide support for animal emergencies. They are also not equipped to provide support for tax emergencies, hair emergencies, or overflowing toilets. This couple make a mistake in calling 911 for an animal emergency. Be prepared; if you have animals, spend some time to know what to do in the event of a health crisis or traumatic injury.

  39. Shannon says on  04/25/2012 at 5:37 pm

    They need to create a job that can work as an ambulance for the vets…you call the number, they come pick up the animal and take it to the vet…

  40. If I panicked I def would have done something like this.

  41. So who WOULD you call?

  42. to bad we cant have an emergency number for a pet emergency

  43. Trisha says on  04/25/2012 at 5:38 pm

    Ross, I have never called the cops for locking my keys in the car- I pay for roadside assistance for lock-out service. I think a 911 call for a drowning dog, trapped cat, or otherwise public/stray EMERGENCY type situation is fine. Your own dog, on your own property having a medical emergency, not so much.

  44. I see both sides but what about all the dogs that have called 911 (ie.service dogs) couldn’t they return the favor?

  45. Regina says on  04/25/2012 at 5:38 pm

    If they need rescuing, then why can’t we do it? Afterall, they cannot help themselves in cases like that!

  46. Amber says on  04/25/2012 at 5:39 pm

    I can see carrying a small dog to the car and rushing it to the vet hospital, but what are you supposed to do for a dog you can’t even lift? I learned dog CPR just in case, but still, it seems there should be a workable solution. I see a business opportunity.

  47. But if the dog calls 911 to have his master rescued it is NO problem. This is unfair.

  48. Cheryl says on  04/25/2012 at 5:39 pm

    Oh good grief! People call 911 for stupid reasons all the time and don’t get fined. If they were habitual 911 abusers, if they had been warned not to call about their dog or something, then I can see giving them a fine. But if this is their first “offense” and it was indeed an emergency to them anyway, then they should get a pass and be told to have their local emergency vet’s number on hand for futures.

  49. Wendy says on  04/25/2012 at 5:39 pm

    Parents should be certified in animal CPR to start. And while I can easily load up my 60# ACD mix in the subaru I doubt a 200# Dane would be as easy or cooperative. IN the mean time I personally would have been on the phone with a vet, as talented as emergency responders are, they don’t know jack about canine anatomy, and my vet would already know or have on hand the current health status of my pet (I have 5 dogs and rescue, lets just say my vet knows me and my dogs well)

  50. I called the RSPCA to rescue a sparrow. They refused and were rude. I phone the fire brigade and those wonderful, tall men in their wonderful uniforms came speeding round and effected a successful rescue and release.

  51. Shelley says on  04/25/2012 at 5:39 pm

    i would have done the same thing

  52. Debra says on  04/25/2012 at 5:40 pm

    The family clearly was not thinking straight, not surprising due to what they were going through. The operator should have calmed them as much as she could and suggest that they both carry Oreo to the car and get to an animal emergency clinic. The operator could have even given them directions over the phone as they drove.

  53. Ok, I actually just watched the video and I didn’t realize the pup also died. They obviously love their dog and its gone. Come on guys let the fine go.

  54. What training do the responders have in order to treat (or even diagnose) a collapsed dog? When ours collapsed, we put him in the car and drove him to the animal ER. It would never have occurred to me to call 911 because no one would have been able to help anyway.

  55. Michelle says on  04/25/2012 at 5:40 pm

    they have services like that in Phoenix

  56. Jeanette says on  04/25/2012 at 5:40 pm

    if the animal is in distress, then you are treating the humans who are in distress…….

  57. I think they was right, after all who are suppose to call especially at night

  58. Don’t they have their 24/7 emergency vet programmed into their cells? I also have a magnet on my fridge with the number just in case.

  59. what a self-obsessed species we are. Selfish. In fact, we see how people will restrict life’s good things not jsut humans but to ‘my kind of human.’ # Look at racisms. Look at the 3rd Reich. Look at Tory and US Republican me me me politics…..

  60. Fireman will get cats out of trees, but calling 911 gets you fined? It’s a public service not a humans only service… It’s wrong

  61. Peg says on  04/25/2012 at 5:41 pm

    A warning would have been issued but not a fine. it was not a prank or a joke but a real emergency to the owners. The woman should have made it very clear that it was a pet but she acted in haste not realizing the consequences.

  62. Considering that the fire dept. has special air masks for dogs and they are trained in CPR for dogs, I’d have to say the people who made the distress call are in the right.

  63. A 911 dispatcher has no resources available to help dogs. Calling 911 for a dog health emergency is counterproductive- a huge waste of everyone’s time. An emergency veterinarian service does, and is the appropriate place to call when a dog has a stroke or heart attack. You can also attend classes for doggie first aide, to include animal CPR. Yes, this family deserves the ticket.

  64. So they panic once and get fined? … but George Zimmerman calls 911 almost 50 times, with 99% of them being a false alarm, and he is not accountable????

  65. Carolyn says on  04/25/2012 at 5:42 pm

    @Laurence ? Are you for real?

  66. instead of fining them just get them to pay for the use of the ambulance how hard is that.

  67. Holly says on  04/25/2012 at 5:43 pm

    I don’t think they should be fined, but simply told not to do that again. Call an emergency vet for your pet, not 911.

  68. To the person who said emergency services doesn’t have time to deal with animals…my man is a cop and he attends a ridiculous number of legit animal calls. Anytime someone sees an animal in pain or hit by a car, who do you think “puts it down”? Whoever is closest, that’s who. It’s about doing the right thing and helping where you can. Not human vs. animal and not taxes. It’s called being a member of society.

  69. Alessandra says on  04/25/2012 at 5:44 pm

    I can see both sides and understand the anxiety for their dog condition, but why didn’t they call a vet emergency number instead of 911 or rushed with the dog to an animal emergency clinic?

  70. June says on  04/25/2012 at 5:45 pm

    Over here (UK) the Fire services will rescue pets, but you can’t use an ambulance. For years our local vets used the xray dept of the local hospital (out of hours) until they got their own equipment. But pet Ins does cover Pet ambulance fees

  71. Glenda says on  04/25/2012 at 5:45 pm

    so now use court time and money…forget the fine and send a sympathy card shame on you MO..

  72. if they intentionally missled the police/paramedic/911 opperator that is one thing, but if she just paniced and called her dog her daughter or something because she was hystarical that is another thing entirly. I call my dog “my baby boy” all the time and i dont know what i would say if something happened to him. I hope the court will have some compassion for this family, greiving the loss of their baby….

  73. Sarah says on  04/25/2012 at 5:45 pm

    In reality you have to think, would your call for a dog incident(my dog is my Child, i dont have any human children, dogs are much better) risk the lives of another human being or human child, in the UK they are so understaffed that I would always think twice about phoning our emergency services even for a ‘human’ incident. my vets has an out of hours number so i suppose they would be my first point of contact

  74. Anonymous says on  04/25/2012 at 5:46 pm

    what happened to compassion? I get thing about them doing something else and a human call comes in but damn. Firemen used to be called to save kittens out of trees. What’s the big deal? It’s not like they made a habit out of it.

  75. I performed cpr yesterday on a human being. I hope to never have to experience such a thing again. However, if needed for any living thing I will. If its alive and in distress its an emergency. Who are we as a society to place a value on someone elses loved one?

  76. Michelle says on  04/25/2012 at 5:46 pm

    the man clearly states in the video that he could barely lift the dog – it’s 140 lbs. of dead weight when it collapsed – there’s NO WAY on earth I could get a large animal like that into my car to go to an emergency vet clinic…..and the vets I know of around here have emergency #’s, but will they be able to come out and help you load that size of an animal into your car? Isn’t that just wasting time? If it’s my dog and he’s that big, I absolutely panic and call 911 – I wouldn’t know what else to do! I agree w/ the person who said it’s not like it was a prank call – it was a legitimate emergency – those poor people needed help. And, for the record, I, too, think of my dog as my son – he’s as much a part of this family as my flesh-and-blood son…and there’s NOTHING I wouldn’t do to save him in an emergency. I kind of have a feeling that if a judge DOES uphold the fine, there will be no shortage of animal-loving people realy to chip in and see that this family doesn’t have to pay a dime!

  77. Linda says on  04/25/2012 at 5:47 pm

    I’m a registered nurse and quite frankly, I think 911 personel needs to be trained in animal related emergencies… life is life. We shouldn’t discriminate.

  78. Lisa says on  04/25/2012 at 5:47 pm

    I was thinking the same thing Amber -they probably couldn’t lift the dog :(

  79. Catherine says on  04/25/2012 at 5:47 pm

    The police in my town are all animal lovers. I called them once (albeit not via 911) because a neighbor was beating his dog. They came right over. Animals are residents too.

  80. Okay, time for a reality-check. If they said it was for their dog and ems responded anyway then obviously they shouldn’t be fined. If they acted like this was a person then they should be fined for being idiots. what are emts supposed to do for a dog except accidentally kill it because they have no vet training at all? That’s what emergency vets are for and any responsible pet owner should have known where the closest one to their house is instead of just immediately losing their minds and calling 911.

  81. Michelle says on  04/25/2012 at 5:47 pm

    *ready* not “realy’……

  82. I am all for saving the animal, but On a side note if you own a great dane you should know and understand the symptoms of bloat and other things that are common to the breed, so you don’t panick and them treatment quickly.

  83. Lee says on  04/25/2012 at 5:47 pm

    I would want the dog rescued.. They are better than most people

  84. It is a sad situation….but 911 is for humans. If one of my dogs fell ill I would help it in any way possible and take it to the very or animal er.

  85. Cindy says on  04/25/2012 at 5:49 pm

    Just because they are dogs, doesn’t make their lives less valueable than humans! I would’ve done the same thing in that situation…FINE OR NOT! I would pay any amount of money to help my dogs.

  86. All official bodies (and unofficial etc) need to sponsor an I-Thou relationship. Not dismissing folks needs and feelings.

  87. In my country (Serbia) no emergency service would respond to this kind of call. It is a sad true but it is true. If my pet need emergency help I would have to put it in my car and drive it to a vet, and if it is outside of working hours, vet would charge me double. Sadly.

  88. De Ettra says on  04/25/2012 at 5:49 pm

    EMT and 911 is supposed to respond to HUMAN LIFE, they are NOT VETS and are NOT trained to care for pets.. I understand but human society help with issues with pets in which tax dollars go to that cause…. omg this has gone too far.. what about my ant farm if the ants stop moving, what about mr hampster if he stop moving.. pay the fine people…

  89. In a panic I think I would have done the same thing and called!

  90. Well, the right thing to do would be to have an emergency animal rescue service, which could be connected to 911 or have its own number


  92. Janis says on  04/25/2012 at 5:53 pm

    Because there are so many aspects of emergency response where animals ARE included, and because there is a growing understanding that service animals are important to human survival, and that many pets become service animals, I would waive the fine and try to educate the public on where to draw the line. After all, we see firefighters with pet oxygen masks on hand, rescue teams getting kittens and puppies out of wells and pipes, etc. Joe Citizen doesn’t understand those people are dispatched by emergency services, not requested by the public…we need an info campaign.

  93. 911 personnel are not trained in animal care, why waste valuable time calling them? call the vet!! having read some of these comments I’m left wondering if US vets do emergency call outs – they do here in the UK, that’s the first number I would ring if any of my pets were in an emergency situation

  94. Regina says on  04/25/2012 at 5:53 pm

    If it were a police dog they would have done it!

  95. Janis says on  04/25/2012 at 5:54 pm

    It’s certainly more of a real emergency than calling 911 to complain you didn’t get the sandwich you ordered at the drive-through, as we’ve seen on several news programs over the years.

  96. There should be an animal 911. But, I would not call 911 for my dog; I would call the (animal) Emergency Clinic and tell them what’s going on. One of the BIG practices in town will come and get you (we have no animal ambulances) but for the Emergency Clinic you have to get your pet there, and I’m not sure if taxis will all take animals.

  97. Dayla says on  04/25/2012 at 5:55 pm

    Should have a 911 for pets!

  98. Linda says on  04/25/2012 at 5:55 pm

    It would take VERY little effort for a 911 operator to talk someone through CPR for a pet and it would make a world of difference for the families. Granted, the ambulance being called on scene was a bit much, but there’s no reason why operators cannot be trained to talk pet owners through an emergency, the same as they do with human emergencies.

  99. so sad they needed help and had no other option …they lost their dog and on top of that got a ticket for false report. My biggest fear is that one of our danes would colapse like this and we couldn’t get them into the car. We are going to make a stretcher like the one our vet has just in case we would have to load one of them into the car, dead weight in an emergency situation.

  100. People make mistakes. Even if you had a different number for animals, people would call the wrong one. 9-1-1 functions as a clearinghouse for all kinds of emergencies, even if that’s not what was intended.

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