O’Fallon, Mo., resident Rose Lakey thought of Oreo as a part of the family. So when the ailing Great Dane fell ill on Easter Sunday after returning from a walk, she did what anyone else might have done when a family member was in danger – she called 911.
But a miscommunication between Lakey and the emergency responders landed the concerned pet owner in hot water.
When the dispatcher asked her about her emergency, Lakey says that although she initially explained that her dog had collapsed, she later minced her words in a panic, referring to Oreo as her daughter.
“I honestly did not call trying to lie to them,” Lakey insists.
So when the emergency crew showed up, they were under the impression that they were there to rescue a child, not a Great Dane. When the responders discovered the unconscious Great Dane, one exasperated paramedic threw her hands up and said, “It’s just a dog.”
Lakey says that she and her husband were confused by the response. “We didn’t understand why they were saying all that,” Lakey says.
Nonetheless, other paramedics helped the Lakeys hoist Oreo into their vehicle. But by the time Lakey and her husband made it to the animal clinic, it was too late. Lakey believes that Oreo ultimately died of a blood clot. She explains that a few weeks prior to Oreo’s death, she had to have surgery to remove a tumor, which may have caused a clot to form.
Two days after Oreo’s passing, police officers turned up at Lakey’s home to serve her a $100 citation because the five emergency vehicles and 12 responders believed they were there to assist a child in distress – Lakey’s “daughter” and not her “dog.”
Initially shocked by the citation, Lakey admits that she may have accidentally used the word “daughter” amidst all of the worry over Oreo.
“I think everyone has said something wrong in the heat of the moment,” Lakey explains, emphasizing that she never meant to confuse or mislead anyone.
Lakey appeared in court Wednesday, June 6, and pleaded guilty, agreeing to pay the $100 citation rather than go through the expensive hassle of hiring a lawyer.
Though it has been several months, the Lakey family is still grieving the loss of gentle giant Oreo. “This sounds crazy, but she was our kid,” Rose Lakey says. “We did everything with her. We have just been lost without her.”