Dog nearly drowned in icy pond after 911 dispatcher refused to send help

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In Denver, Colorado a 911 dispatcher told a caller they didn’t handle animal rescues, and told the woman to hang up and try dialing 311. Meanwhile, the frantic witness, Jenny Benz wanted to help a dog after it fell into the freezing water at Wash Park pond and nearly drowned.

“I call 911 and my first response from them was, ‘We don’t handle animal calls,'” stated Jenny. “And I said, ‘Well, I think Fire handles animal calls.”

The near tragedy occurred on Friday afternoon when the pooch named Francis hightailed it out to the park pond in pursuit of some ducks. It wasn’t long before the dog fell through the ice. According to KhouNews, after calling 311, Jenny was told to call a park ranger, but since the park ranger would likely not respond, she was instructed to leave a voicemail.

“I was scared. I mean, we’re watching all this and I felt like I couldn’t do anything to help this poor animal. I didn’t want to be watching a dog die while someone decided who the right person to call would be,” Jenny said.

Luckily another person was able to get in touch with the fire department who quickly came out to rescue shivering Francis. Within minutes, the dog was safely in the rescuer’s raft. Francis is expected to make a full recovery.

As to the situation, both the Denver police and the fire department, have explained the dispatcher likely was not familiar with the protocol or the rules for saving an animal in an emergency situation. Many animal lovers would risk their own lives to save a pet – tragically a young man in Oklahoma died trying to save his dog from an icy pond. Read about that tragic story here.

Please be reminded that leash laws are made to protect dogs and people. Obey the law and maybe even save your beloved pooch’s life one day (or your own) just by being careful. Follow the National Pet Rescue on Facebook.

(Photo of dog nearly drowned screenshot via Dan Berman)


11 replies
  1. Barkley's Mom says:

    I would imagine a 911 SHOULD be well trained in how to answer ANY emergency. Instead of telling a panicking caller “we don’t handle animal calls” get with it and find out what you do in such an emergency situation, not just pass it off to someone else! Why wouldn’t a 911 operator know how to call the fired department? Shameful but I’m glad Francis was saved in spite of all the turmoil.

  2. Darla says:

    The dispatcher SHOULD have known the protocol. That excuse is lame as heck. I’m very grateful to the person who called the fire department…..once again, it’s the firefighters who are the heroes.

  3. maxiemom says:

    There’s no excuse for the dispatcher failing to know the protocol here. It’s her JOB, and lives are at stake. The fact of the matter is that the lives involved simply don’t matter to her. When they hire dispatchers, they need to make certain they hire people who genuinely care, and that they know who handles these calls.

  4. linda says:

    Wouldn’t you think the dispatcher would know ALL the rules pertaining to the job? What he/she couldn’t take the time to ask a fellow dispatcher on animal protocol?! What a putz!

  5. Edward says:

    Argentiere real hero in Vancouver not giving up with assholes dispatcher Fighters f****** ass or throw him in the f****** phone for Christ sakes the f*** you think any of those around you gotta f*** would like quit your job

  6. Meghan says:

    I hope whoever refused help, GETS FIRED! That is horrible. So, if someone calls with an emergency, you will tell them no? Please have a heart.


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