Canine Rights

Woman Fined For Calling 911 When Dog Collapses

A Missouri woman is accused of misusing 911 when she called to report that her dog had collapsed. Oreo, the woman’s 140-pound Great Dane collapsed upon returning home from a walk on Easter Sunday. In a panic, she dialed 911 for help. Rose Lakey, a resident of O’Fallon, MO, must now pay a fine after dialing 911 and claiming that her “daughter” needed emergency assistance.

Lakey says that in her panic, she might have minced words, as her adult daughter was with her at the time. She says that during her call, she said her dog collapsed, but later might have referred to her as her “daughter.” It’s an easy mistake to make, especially in the midst of a panic, as we think of our dogs as members of our family.

When police and paramedics arrived at the scene, Lakey says one paramedic entered the room then threw her hands up, saying “It’s just a dog.” While paramedics did help the Lakeys put Oreo into their car, it was too late for the dog. Oreo died at an emergency animal hospital.

As if mourning the death of her dog wasn’t enough, police visited the Lakey home the following day with a notice of the violation.

Lakey told St. Louis Today she didn’t say the word daughter on purpose. “I think everyone has said something wrong in the heat of the moment,” she said, “like called their child by the wrong name.”

This is a sad story that has no happy ending for anyone involved. Do you feel that 911 and other emergency services should have animal assistance available? Or, do you feel the Lakeys were rightfully charged for misusing the system? We’d love to hear your thoughts!

 

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29 Comments

29 Comments

  1. Dave

    Mar 16, 2017 at 10:46 am

    Yes, animals should definitely have 911 emergency services available. We put as great an amount of love, emotion and money into pets… who are high order mammals, as we do our human offspring. Yes, there should be ambulance service and hospitals and medics for dogs and cats. I love my dog as a son, my baby, my offspring.

  2. Tom Francis Duda

    Oct 6, 2016 at 3:32 pm

    My six week old Basset Hound puppy got lost last night and it was below freezing. I couldn’t find her and I called 911. They treated it like the emergency that it was and they didn’t complain in any way that I called. In fact, the operator told me I did the right thing and tried to calm me down.

    I found her while the police were scouring the area for her. Everybody involved was very happy she was found. I called 911 again to let them know and I could hear in the background the other operators laughing with joy that I found her.

    Therefore, some operators are jerks and others are cool and will bend the rules when they know in their hearts that it is a real emergency.

    If your dog is in danger. Just call them. The dog is more important then a fine.

    • Dave

      Mar 16, 2017 at 10:50 am

      Where do you live? I want to move there… where dogs are treated humanely and well. I don't think my area is that warmhearted toward animals… Northeast US.

  3. Connor

    Apr 4, 2016 at 10:27 pm

    I don’t think EMS should try to medically treat pet emergencies, as they know about human afflictions and not pet ones, however getting your severely injured pet a police escort or a spin in a cop car to get to the vet hospital would make it much safer for all those frantic pet owners who, as previous commenters have said and what I’ve done as well, run every red light at 80mph to try to rescue their pooch. I think issuing her the fine is like issuing a speeding ticket for rushing your friend to the hospital when you were unsure if the EMS would make it in time, in the heat of the moment. A warning for her would be understandable but issuing the fine on the first mistake is just cruel.

  4. Anne

    Sep 23, 2015 at 4:07 pm

    I believe 911 should also provide emergency transport for pets. My dog would have died just two days ago, if my son hadn’t run all red lights middle of the city at 80mph to make it to the hospital. I am extremely lucky he survived, but there was no chance if we had stopped at every red light. I have already previously lost a pet while I worked two hours away from home and someone had stabbed my dog with a shovel. This dog died right in front of my kids eyes and animal control arrived at the end of the day to pick up the dead body. Animals are family too.

  5. Mike

    Aug 20, 2014 at 7:04 pm

    I thjnk a service should be available at a cost.

    I’d gladly pay a monthly fee to have emergency transportation available that had the same type of authority on road ways as 911.

    But no, tax payers are not dogs and therefore doesn’t make sense to me. She shouldn’t have been fined.

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    Mar 25, 2014 at 11:36 am

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  7. Evelyn Walton

    Jun 17, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    911 ought to be able to route animal emergencies as well as any other emergencies. If a dog or other animal had been menacing a human it wouldn’t have been a problem. If a human had been menacing an animal, I suspect it wouldn’t have either. My pets are my family.

  8. Bonnie k bird

    Jun 16, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    Please consider this from the point of view of EMTs. I was a volunteer in an all volunteer fire department. We would sleep with radios under our pillows and respond to calls at all hours of the night. I went to a call at two AM where a dairy farm had a cow give birth and the calf slipped down into a sinkhole. I am not a vet. I know nothing about new born cattle, but here is this frantic farm
    Mer asking me (a 58 year old female) to drop down into a sinkhole….who knows how deep?….to rescue his calf.
    We are told in Emergency Medicine never to put our lives in peril for another human being.
    I had to tell the farmer I couldn’t help him, although I really wanted to.
    The story has a happy ending though. The farmer got a rope and went into the sinkhole, tied the rope to the calf, which I and anotherEMT dead lifted out of the cave. Then we helped the farmer out of the sinkhole….which was legitimate Emergency Medicine since being in the sinkhole had made him faint-headed.

    • Jenna

      Mar 6, 2015 at 1:38 pm

      I understand why you shouldn’t call 911 for a pet emergency, but do you really think she deserved to be fined for making a mistake? Imagine if your daughter just died, and then you received a fine for calling the wrong number and mixing up your words. I know a cat or dog is not a human, and is not the same as a human daughter, but to some people it feels the same. She didn’t know she wasn’t supposed to call 911. She made a mistake and lost a beloved pet. Fining her was like a slap in the face.

  9. Auma

    Jun 15, 2012 at 8:04 am

    Benita, you said it all better than I could. Thanks!

  10. Auma

    Jun 15, 2012 at 8:00 am

    I absolutely believe that 911 should have emergency animal services available. I would like to hear a sincerely compelling argument why they shouldn’t be.

  11. Benita Buck

    Jun 15, 2012 at 7:04 am

    Now, doesn’t the fire dept come and help get cats out of trees? Don’t they help entrapped animals in frozen ponds? Don’t they rescue animals in old wells, in fires, in other situations dangerous or not? So what if she called 911 for help? I live 10 miles out of the nearest town and we have no emergency vets around, with the closest being over 30 minutes or more away and THAT is too long in an emergency. Would I call – you bet. Would I pay a fine for don’t so – not in a million years.

    • Bonnie k bird

      Jun 16, 2012 at 1:03 pm

      No, they do not. This is a myth. I was a volunteer in an all volunteer fire department. We NEVER were allowed to rescue animals. Never. We were not allowed to enter any house where someone was drunk or drugged unless we had law enforcement on our side. Paramedics and EMTs are trained never to risk their lives to save others because you can end up with multiple fatalities needlessly.

      You have to consider that our jobs are dangerous enough as they are. Hurt and sick people are not always predictable. Most of us do this out of the goodness of our hearts. We do not have veterinary skills.

      • Shavonn

        Oct 1, 2012 at 12:13 pm

        not a myth as there are many videos circulating of emergency response teams helping to rescue animals of all kinds from dangerous situations. the fire dept will help with a cat in a tree as long as they have the manpower and if called on a fire emergency, it is understood they would have to leave immediately. they do these things so people do not injure themselves trying to rescue the animal. they have the means, the training, and the equipment so it makes sense. maybe your experience is because it was all volunteer so there was a huge liability in doing some things.

    • Miriam Herrera

      Jul 6, 2012 at 3:14 pm

      Great points!

  12. Renee

    Jun 15, 2012 at 2:55 am

    No! She should not be fined. Dogs rescue us in many situations and are not paid nor do we even ask them if they wish to do this work. Many have gone into burning buildings after us, are on the front lines sniffing out bombs,in rubble searching for victims, or everyday things like helping the blind cross the street without getting struck by a car. I call my dogs my kids and they are! I probably would have panicked myself and i’m not so sure I would have not called 911. In her heart she probably felt as if this dog was her child and the lack of compassion from the police department makes me sick! There has been officers removed from the department for pulling people over in an emergency with their dog and not helping while the dog died in the back seat,I think they need to remember that!

  13. kathy

    Jun 15, 2012 at 1:11 am

    Yes they should help with animals also….but then again a lot of the paramedicas can’t even help people so I doubt it would make any difference. The woman should NOT be charged with any violation.

  14. charlotte

    Jun 14, 2012 at 11:15 pm

    just a dog. what if that paramedic happened to be in a burning building or drowning etc. what she think if the dog just threw up its paws and barked, it’s just a human. come on animals have feelings too and i do call my dogs my kids and you don’t miss treat them. some people just don’t to seem to have a heart.

    • Brandy Arnold

      Jun 15, 2012 at 12:53 pm

      I love your comment, Charlotte. It’s true, dogs save people’s lives every single day, without us even asking them to.

      If only the whole world just had a little more compassion toward each other…

  15. Nancy Sheffield

    Jun 14, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    Sadly, many people deliberately missuse 911. I don’t believe this woman was trying to do that. I believe she sincerely did not know what to do, in the heat of the moment, and probably did “misspeak”. I call my daugther my sister accidentally all the time, and call the dogs by the wrong name, and even call my adult children or grandchildren by one of the dog’s names at times. I think a warning to be more careful would have been sufficient in this situation unless this woman has a history of misusing 911….which may actually be the case, we only have one side of the story here.

  16. Kathee Marquez

    Jun 14, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    Are they crazy, I call my dogs my daughters, she was probably so nervewracked she said daughter. It is bad enough the dog died why do they have to charge her, they should just warn her.

  17. Laurie Wells

    Jun 14, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    In a panic I don’t know that I wouldn’t call 911 I have a dog and I know if anything happened to him I would freak out. Granted she should have called an emergency vet hospital, but couldn’t the 911 dispatcher have had a heart and called one for her because of the state she was in. Please don’t discount our precious pets they are like our children. A slap on the wrist would have been enough for gods sake but to fine her is ridiculous.

    • Bonnie k bird

      Jun 16, 2012 at 1:07 pm

      Please consider this from the point of view of EMTs. I was a volunteer in an all volunteer fire department. We would sleep with radios under our pillows and respond to calls at all hours of the night. I went to a call at two AM where a dairy farm had a cow give birth and the calf slipped down into a sinkhole. I am not a vet. I know nothing about new born cattle, but here is this frantic farm
      Mer asking me (a 58 year old female) to drop down into a sinkhole….who knows how deep?….to rescue his calf.
      We are told in Emergency Medicine never to put our lives in peril for another human being.
      I had to tell the farmer I couldn’t help him, although I really wanted to.
      The story has a happy ending though. The farmer got a rope and went into the sinkhole, tied the rope to the calf, which I and anotherEMT dead lifted out of the cave. Then we helped the farmer out of the sinkhole….which was legitimate Emergency Medicine since being in the sinkhole had made him faint-headed.

  18. Helen Aulenbach

    Jun 14, 2012 at 9:50 pm

    I think that they need to consider having a pet “911”. There are so many people out there, like myself, who feel that their pet is family and in an emergency, they do panic and need HELP!

    • Bonnie k bird

      Jun 16, 2012 at 1:04 pm

      We have such a service in our town.Please consider this from the point of view of EMTs. I was a volunteer in an all volunteer fire department. We would sleep with radios under our pillows and respond to calls at all hours of the night. I went to a call at two AM where a dairy farm had a cow give birth and the calf slipped down into a sinkhole. I am not a vet. I know nothing about new born cattle, but here is this frantic farm
      Mer asking me (a 58 year old female) to drop down into a sinkhole….who knows how deep?….to rescue his calf.
      We are told in Emergency Medicine never to put our lives in peril for another human being.
      I had to tell the farmer I couldn’t help him, although I really wanted to.
      The story has a happy ending though. The farmer got a rope and went into the sinkhole, tied the rope to the calf, which I and anotherEMT dead lifted out of the cave. Then we helped the farmer out of the sinkhole….which was legitimate Emergency Medicine since being in the sinkhole had made him faint-headed.

  19. paula kerreos

    Jun 14, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    No! She should not be charged. 911 was called because it was an emergency and I don’t think that they have a list out to say what they will and will not respond to. They have an obligation to respond, and if the call was made in error so be it. People will learn from this.

    • Angela Wine

      Jun 14, 2012 at 9:53 pm

      Its just a dog was a bad reply.If they would have helped they might have save a life. where is compassion. Must not have been a animal lover. Wonder how many times they have said that when it was a race they did not like or people they did’nt want to touch. Too sad.

    • Elisa Logan

      Jun 15, 2012 at 12:05 am

      I don’t think she should have to pay a fine. I have dogs and animals I love. I’m sure she didn’t mean to misuse the “system”, but she probably panicked! I would panic, and then who do U call? I really think that’s pushing it, making her pay a fine.
      Talk about who is misusing whom and taking advantage, it sounds like the city officials!!

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