April 9, 2006

"Squirrels are not people."

A 911 call:
"What's the problem?" said [911 operator Vernetta] Geric, 46, of East Pittsburgh.

"I have a large tree in my backyard ... there's a squirrel stuck in the tree."

"Ma'am, this is a squirrel? In a tree? What's the problem?"

"It's been there for about an hour. It's crying; it needs help. There's a problem," the caller insisted.

"Ma'am, sorry, but this isn't necessarily a police issue. It's a wild animal, sitting in a tree. It's supposed to be doing that. The squirrel will be OK. It'll climb down when it's ready," Geric said.

"Are you telling me you're not sending me an officer?"

"Sorry ma'am, this isn't a police issue. An officer wouldn't be able to do anything. The squirrel will be just fine, really."

"But police officers help people in need right?"

"Yes, ma'am. Squirrels are not people."

"Well, never mind, anyway. You've spent so much time explaining why an officer won't help me, the squirrel left. Thanks."


Gahrie said...

That had to have been a Specter voter.

Mark said...

Squirrel video just for you...


Synova said...

So do people get fined for calls like that?

What I really *really* wish is that the police had a NON-EMERGENCY number that was published and easily available and listed as the one citizens should call for non-emergencies.

I know there's a couple of times I called 911 that weren't emergency calls ("I think I heard gunfire, but it's not close. No, I don't need anyone to stop by.") And then there was the time it was close but sounded far away and I *didn't* call and the next day the 6'6" tall, dark and way too handsome officer who was out picking up a magazine's worth of .22 brass chewed me out for *not* calling. And then there was the time the transformer on the corner blew.

Yes, the police would want to know if something went !BOOM! but just because the police want to know doesn't make it an *emergency*.

Dave said...

There is a non=emergency number, 311. You just have to live in a city that has implemented it.

Bissage said...

On the other hand, an officer would have arrived immediately (lights flashing, siren blaring, tires squealing) had the caller complained of a pile of nut shavings left in the living room. And rightly so!

grape_crush said...

Oh, that's funny. Reminds me of the Cheeseburger 911 call:

Dispatcher: Okay, what exactly is it you want us to do for you?

Woman: I . . . send an officer down here. I . . . I want them to make me . . .

Dispatcher: Ma'am, we're not gonna go down there and enforce your Western Bacon Cheeseburger.

The audio link at the bottom has the 911 call, in case y'all missed it the first time around.

TWM said...

The opposite side of this is that stupid 911 operator who not only ignored, but actually lectured, at poor five year old for calling in to ask for help for his sick mother. Not once, but twice, did the child call, and the moron did not send help until what is reported to be three hours later.

The woman died and now the city faces a multi-million dollar lawsuit. And while I am not a trial lawyer fan, it seems justified to me.

If the facts bear out, the woman should be fired and possibly prosecuted for nonfeasance or misfeasance or malfeasance or whatever law that would apply if possible.

yetanotherjohn said...

I think this should give pause to those who think the government is the solution any problem. Can we at least agree that the government is not the solution to squirells being in trees?

BrianOfAtlanta said...

.22 rifles are the solution to squirrels in trees. Or, if stealth is required, a pellet gun.

Henry said...

That reminds me of this story:

Old lady: My cat's in a tree and it won't come down.

Fire Dept. Dispatcher: Lady, have you ever seen a cat skeleton in a tree?

PatCA said...

"Yes, ma'am. Squirrels are not people."

How refreshing! In CA the animal supremacists would have been out immediately.

Gaius Arbo said...

What's the number to reach the telephone operator?

Oh my.

Jennifer said...

What a moron! Who calls the police for animals stuck in trees? Everybody knows you call the fire department for that. I mean they're not busy.

Synova - most police departments do have a non-emergency number. It should be in the government pages in your phone book. I've used it before.

michael a litscher said...

A good friend of mine is a cop who works the inner city of Milwaukee.

You would not believe all of the dumb-ass calls he gets sent on all the time.

Your son won't do his homework? Call the cops.

Mother and underage daughter get into a shouting match because daughter want's to leave to be with the slimeball lowlife that she can't live without? Grandma calls the cops.

Hunter McDaniel said...

Not exactly the same, but there was an incident here in Boulder a few years ago where someone called Wildlife Protection because they saw a deer being attacked by a mountain lion.

Bissage said...

Also not exactly the same, but maybe somebody should play Devil's Advocate: I, for one, violate the Prime Directive and intervene to dispatch House Sparrows so as to safeguard Blue Birds and other native species. So there!

Still, the squirrels can go hang. Maybe I'd feel differently in England and Scotland where I understand our Grey Squirrel is out-competing their Red Squirrel.

Gaius Arbo said...

bissage, I feel the same way about bunnies. They're real cute for folks who aren't having their landscaping devoured.

Alan Kellogg said...

Did anybody note what else the incident said about the woman? About her ignorance of a common animal? Now how could someone be so ignorant of squirrels. Why would anybody be ignorant of squirrels?

We are actively discouraged from interaction of any sort with nature in any meaningful way. We are taught that wild animals are muy dangerous, and will rend us limb from limb given no provocation what-so-ever. And houseflies are even worse than gnats.

So we learn nothing about the other animals we share this world with. We don't learn how to read them, how to handle them. We never learn how we can live with them, and what to do when an animal is, well, out of sorts.

When a young, Coloradan bull elk's going through cervid pon far guess who is usually cornered by such? Tourists. Native Coloradans know better than to pester a horny bull elk. Learning this became necessary when elk moved into Colorado towns. I say it's a good idea to learn about wildlife even when that wildlife poses no real threat to us.

Bissage said...

Gaius Arbo: Funny you should say that. About a week ago I proclaimed loudly that I have officially given up all hope of ever making a peaceable agreement with the bunnies, cute though they may be (the baby bunnies, particularly). Henceforth, said I, they are unwelcome and shall have dog turds reposed in their burrows! So far, so good.

P.S. I tried to make a deal with the House Sparrows, but now I just kill them, when I can. Let's hope it doesn't come to that with the bunnies. Why they insist on burrowing into my flower gardens (in a fenced-in yard with a Sheltie running about), I have no idea.