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Do animals deserve emergency care?

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The UK's Sun is carrying a story about a woman who called 911 after her dog collapsed, and is now being prosecuted for it, facing up to 30 days in jail.

An official is also quoted as saying "While we understand that many people regard their pets as members of the family, summoning lifesaving personnel via 911 is inappropriate to say the least." Am I the only one who thinks that this is definitely not the case?

from mwalimu: The incident occurred in Covington, Louisiana, USA. I was able to find this reference in a local newspaper. The UK Sun website admits it's a tabloid, and thier article reads like one, too.

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To a point and in a fashion, yes, I believe emergency care should be available for animals. If I have a sick or injured animal on my hands, the last thing I want to hear when I call for help is that "our office hours are from 8am to 5pm Monday through Friday" (Most vets care more for their patients than that, by the way.)

Having said that, I have mixed feeling about this particular case. I can't say I blame her for calling 911 in the first place, but I fault her for withholding information, whether intentionally or by accident. The ambulance crew sped to the scene, risking a traffic mishap, in the belief that a three-year-old human child's life was at risk, and only upon arriving did they discover that the victim was a dog.

A recent article in my hometown newspaper discussed the difficulties of people misusing the 911 service. Aside from prank calls, they have to deal with cases such as one older man suffering from dementia who called 911 more than 20 times within a year for such things as having difficulty ejecting a tape from his VCR.

Your rating: None

Am I the only one who thinks that this is definitely not the case?

No, but that doesn't mean I agree with you.

The purpose of the 911 emergency system is to save human lives. Servicing animal calls draws resources away from this purpose in the same way prank calls do.

While animals are much-loved, it's people (humans) the system is designed to protect.

If there's enough interest, try starting a business that provides emergency medical pickup for the local veterinary hospitals. You won't be able to ignore traffic laws, but you still could provide a service that people might pay for.

Your rating: None

I used to live in very rural Florida. When my dog was bit by a snake (we had thought that it was a gunshot), we called 911. The 911 operator said that she didn't have the resources to help our dog.

It sounds like the woman wasn't clear that her three-year-old baby was a dog. And that was the problem.

Your rating: None

When my cat feel into a hypoglycemic state at 3am, I rushed him to a 24-hour emergency veterinary hospital. They exist, at least in cities. 911 should not be called, any more than a poison center or teen suicide watch hotline. It's not that animals don't deserve emergency care, it's that you need to go to the right place to get it.

911 crews aren't equipped to deal with animals. She might as well have called a drug store.

Your rating: None

Whoops, make that "fell into a hypoglycemic state." ^_^

Your rating: None

Yes, the animals deserve emergency care -- from a private vet hospital that can service them. I know there's a few in Maryland.

But using 911 to do so is not apropriate.

Folks, have the foresight of at least locating your local vet hospital, and knowing it's number. You may have to provide transport, but it's better than nothing.

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