A 911 dispatcher in Paterson, New Jersey took a call last month from someone who was concerned about a cat that was believed to be suffering extreme cruelty at the hands of the caller’s neighbors. The dispatcher asked the caller several detailed questions and authorities believe that based on the nature of the dispatcher’s responses and tone that she was taking the call as seriously as she would have if it had been regarding a human being. She tried to keep the caller talking and assured her that help was on the way. But after 45 minutes the caller said that no patrol cars had arrived.
The caller’s nephews stopped the attack on the tormented cat that was being perpetrated by a group of young boys. The nephews waited with the severely injured animal for more than an hour but the police never arrived as promised. The cat was eventually taken to a veterinary hospital with a damaged eye, broken legs, and severe bleeding.
The rescuers first called the 911 dispatcher simply to request the number for animal control. The dispatcher gave them the number but animal control was closed at the time of the call. So the dispatcher took the caller’s number and location and asked for detailed information about the individuals who were attacking the cat so that she could provide police with a description.
It is sometimes assumed that 911 dispatchers do not take cases of animal cruelty seriously when they receive such calls. The dispatcher in this case was commended by her superiors as well as the callers for carrying out her job with professionalism and compassion despite the fact that the victim was an animal.
The three youngsters who perpetrated the attack, ages 6, 10, and 12 – were caught and will be brought up on criminal charges of animal cruelty.