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.







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214 comments

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    April 25, 2012 12:36 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Cheryl

    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.

    Reply
  • April 25, 2012 5:31 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Rebecca

    Hard to say.

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    April 25, 2012 5:32 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Rhonda

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

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    April 25, 2012 5:32 pmPosted 2 years ago
    James

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

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    April 25, 2012 5:32 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Jasmin

    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.

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    April 25, 2012 5:33 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Carol

    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.

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    April 25, 2012 5:33 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Penny

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

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      April 25, 2012 7:20 pmPosted 2 years ago
      Anonymous

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

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        April 25, 2012 9:11 pmPosted 2 years ago
        Anonymous

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

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    April 25, 2012 5:33 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Debbi

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

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    April 25, 2012 5:33 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Melissa

    depends if you like dogs better than humans!

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  • April 25, 2012 5:33 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Rose

    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.

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    April 25, 2012 5:34 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Jean

    no fine-

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  • April 25, 2012 5:34 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Katherine

    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.

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  • April 25, 2012 5:34 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Karen

    There needs to be a Veterinary version of ’911′.

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  • April 25, 2012 5:34 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Ross

    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

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  • April 25, 2012 5:35 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Michelle

    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.

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    April 25, 2012 5:35 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Veronica

    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.

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    April 25, 2012 5:35 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Don

    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.

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    April 25, 2012 5:35 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Dena

    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.

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  • April 25, 2012 5:35 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Vicki

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

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    April 25, 2012 5:35 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Linda

    Wow thats sad!

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    April 25, 2012 5:35 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Karen

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

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    April 25, 2012 5:35 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Cecilia

    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.

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  • April 25, 2012 5:35 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Gary

    no fine

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  • April 25, 2012 5:35 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Leandre

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

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  • April 25, 2012 5:35 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Kelly

    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.

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  • April 25, 2012 5:35 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Delena

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

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  • April 25, 2012 5:36 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Monica

    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.

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  • April 25, 2012 5:36 pmPosted 2 years ago
    David

    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!!

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  • April 25, 2012 5:36 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Donna

    911 should be for any human or animal in distress.

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  • April 25, 2012 5:36 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Tina

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

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    April 25, 2012 5:36 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Sue

    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.

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    April 25, 2012 5:36 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Kym

    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.

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  • April 25, 2012 5:36 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Cory

    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.

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  • April 25, 2012 5:36 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Kathryn

    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.

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    April 25, 2012 5:36 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Elizabeth

    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.

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  • April 25, 2012 5:36 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Robin

    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.

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  • April 25, 2012 5:37 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Michelle

    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.

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    April 25, 2012 5:37 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Shelley

    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.

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    April 25, 2012 5:37 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Shannon

    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…

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  • April 25, 2012 5:37 pmPosted 2 years ago
    John

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

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  • April 25, 2012 5:37 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Laura

    So who WOULD you call?

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  • April 25, 2012 5:38 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Karen

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

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    April 25, 2012 5:38 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Trisha

    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.

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  • April 25, 2012 5:38 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Laurie

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

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    April 25, 2012 5:38 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Regina

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

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    April 25, 2012 5:39 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Amber

    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.

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  • April 25, 2012 5:39 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Ana Luiza

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

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    April 25, 2012 5:39 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Cheryl

    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.

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    April 25, 2012 5:39 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Wendy

    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)

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  • April 25, 2012 5:39 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Laurence

    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.

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    April 25, 2012 5:39 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Shelley

    i would have done the same thing

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    April 25, 2012 5:40 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Debra

    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.

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  • April 25, 2012 5:40 pmPosted 2 years ago
    John

    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.

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  • April 25, 2012 5:40 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Tina

    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.

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    April 25, 2012 5:40 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Michelle

    they have services like that in Phoenix

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    April 25, 2012 5:40 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Jeanette

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

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  • April 25, 2012 5:41 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Ronald

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

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  • April 25, 2012 5:41 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Bri

    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.

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  • April 25, 2012 5:41 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Laurence

    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…..

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  • April 25, 2012 5:41 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Johanna

    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

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    April 25, 2012 5:41 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Peg

    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.

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  • April 25, 2012 5:41 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Rebecca

    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.

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  • April 25, 2012 5:42 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Robin

    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.

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  • April 25, 2012 5:42 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Tricia

    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????

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    April 25, 2012 5:42 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Carolyn

    @Laurence ? Are you for real?

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  • April 25, 2012 5:42 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Frances

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

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    April 25, 2012 5:43 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Holly

    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.

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  • April 25, 2012 5:43 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Kelly

    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.

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    April 25, 2012 5:44 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Alessandra

    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?

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    April 25, 2012 5:45 pmPosted 2 years ago
    June

    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

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    April 25, 2012 5:45 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Glenda

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

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  • April 25, 2012 5:45 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Sarah

    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….

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    April 25, 2012 5:45 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Sarah

    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

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    April 25, 2012 5:46 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Anonymous

    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.

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  • April 25, 2012 5:46 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Cecelia

    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?

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    April 25, 2012 5:46 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Michelle

    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!

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    April 25, 2012 5:47 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Linda

    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.

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    April 25, 2012 5:47 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Lisa

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

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    April 25, 2012 5:47 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Catherine

    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.

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  • April 25, 2012 5:47 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Charlie

    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.

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    April 25, 2012 5:47 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Michelle

    *ready* not “realy’……

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  • April 25, 2012 5:47 pmPosted 2 years ago
    RaeLynn

    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.

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    April 25, 2012 5:47 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Lee

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

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  • April 25, 2012 5:48 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Teresa

    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.

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    April 25, 2012 5:49 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Cindy

    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.

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  • April 25, 2012 5:49 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Laurence

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

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  • April 25, 2012 5:49 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Jadranka

    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.

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    April 25, 2012 5:49 pmPosted 2 years ago
    De Ettra

    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…

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  • April 25, 2012 5:50 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Paige

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

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  • April 25, 2012 5:50 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Divya

    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

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  • April 25, 2012 5:51 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Rhonda

    NEED A DIFFERENT # FOR EMERGENCY CALLS FOR ANIMALS….ONE THAT GOES STRAIGHT TO A VET!!!! MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS COME BEFORE ANY ANIMAL EVEN MY SWEET SWEET DOG !!!!!!!!!

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    April 25, 2012 5:53 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Janis

    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.

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  • April 25, 2012 5:53 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Ruth

    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

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    April 25, 2012 5:53 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Regina

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

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    April 25, 2012 5:54 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Janis

    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.

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  • April 25, 2012 5:54 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Gail

    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.

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    April 25, 2012 5:55 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Dayla

    Should have a 911 for pets!

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    April 25, 2012 5:55 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Linda

    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.

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  • April 25, 2012 5:55 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Amy

    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.

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  • April 25, 2012 5:56 pmPosted 2 years ago
    Anne

    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.

    Reply

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