Have you been on the dog and bone? Bailey the Labrador sparks 999 alert after biting phone and spooking operator with his whining

By David Wilkes
Last updated at 2:04 AM on 21st May 2009

It was the most sinister of 999 calls – a whimpering noise followed by a shout of: ‘Come out, or else – I’m warning you’ before the line went dead.

Fearing that a murder might be in progress, the operator phoned the number back – and discovered the culprit was a mischievous dog with a fascination for telephones.

The 14-month-old golden retriever, named Bailey, had crept into the bedroom of his owners Jodie and Jamie Halfpenny while they were downstairs watching television and picked up their cordless phone in his mouth.

Enlarge Labrador Bailey recently dialed 999 on his owners' phone, sending police to his home after they heard the chaos as his owners tried to retrieve it

Dialling for help: Bailey managed to call 999 on a phone, sending police to his home after they heard the chaos as his owners tried to retrieve it

Bailey, who has previous form for breaking mobiles, then came bounding into the lounge and when the couple saw he had the phone they chased him to try to get it back.

He ran outside into the garden, at some point having managed to bite the 9 key three times.

‘He was so keen to keep hold of the phone that he got himself wedged behind our shed and by this time we could hear someone had answered his call,’ said 20-year-old Mrs Halfpenny, a care worker from Withington, Herefordshire.

As she and her 24-year-old husband tried in vain to make him come out, their shouts and Bailey’s whines were heard by the police operator.

‘It was only when we got out his favourite biscuits and treats that he finally crawled out,’ said Mrs Halfpenny.

‘But that wasn’t the end of it because he left the phone behind and we had to crane round to try and get it. We got it back and then the police rang asking if we were OK.’

Pet calls: Jamie and Jodie Halfpenny with their mischevious golden retriever Bailey

Pet calls: Jamie and Jodie Halfpenny with their mischievous golden retriever Bailey

When you dial 999, you are asked which service you require: police, fire or ambulance.

If you do not or cannot answer, the BT operator will put the call through to the police.

The West Mercia force confirmed they received the bizarre phone call at 4.30pm on a Monday and that the whining and shouts had made staff think they had ‘a violent domestic or even a potential murder on their hands’.

A spokesman said: ‘That was when the line went dead and for a few moments the operator wondered what sort of incident they were dealing with.

‘The operator phoned the number back hesitantly, only to be greeted by a very apologetic woman who confirmed all was well.’

Mrs Halfpenny said she and her husband, a car dealer, had vowed to keep their phones well out of Bailey’s reach.

‘I don’t know what it is about phones, but he goes wild whenever they ring and has cracked a few mobiles in his mouth when he gets hold of them.’

She said that ‘the whole police thing was a bit embarrassing’, but she was able to see the funny side now.

‘You never know when a dog that can dial for help could come in handy.’

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