Vernetta Geric is a an operator at the Allegheny County 911 Command Center in Western Pennsylvania, trained to handle critical emergencies.
In 2006, a caller said she needed a police officer right away.
"What's the problem?" said Geric.
"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." (info from Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)