UPDATE: If Your Dog Is Drowning In Palm Beach County, You Can Call 911, But…

Boca Raton Florida Palm Beach County

We Asked, Palm Beach County Answered Policy Questions After Major Fire Rescue Response For Drowning Dog.


BY: ANDREW COLTON | Editor and Publisher

BOCA RATON, FL ( (Copyright © 2022 MetroDesk Media, LLC) — reported on Sunday that a significant rescue force was sent to a home in West Boca Raton for a drowning dog. While not suggesting that animals should be allowed to drown, we wanted to know: how much taxpayer-funded equipment — and manpower — should be assigned to save a Palm Beach County house pet in trouble?

After reviewing dispatch logs, and monitoring Fire Rescue dispatch communication, it became clear to that hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of equipment was sent to the home in the 9700 block of Richmond Circle. We won’t publish specific numbers, but there was a sizable manpower response, as well.

The issue, according to those familiar with the specific incident, was confusing communication. The dispatcher was having a very difficult time extracting information from an extremely emotional caller. Sources tell us that It sounded like the caller’s “daughter” was drowning…until further questions made it more likely that it was a “dog.” When transmitted to rushing responders, one radioed back with an unmistakable tone of bewilderment as sirens blared in the background: “is this for a dog?!” When the dog was confirmed, several fire rescue units broke off of the emergency run to be available for humans in trouble.

We wanted to know Palm Beach County Fire Rescue’s policy for rescuing animals. To the agency’s credit, officials took a few days to research the question and provide what we consider to be a legitimate answer.

“When calls for animal assistance are received, Palm Beach County Fire Rescue will usually dispatch them as a “Public Assist,” which means the closest available “non-transport” unit will respond in a non-emergency manner (without) lights and sirens,” said a PBCFR Official to “The units on a Public Assist Call also continue to monitor dispatch, and are able to be re-assigned to other priority calls should an emergency arise.”

Simply put, animals are important, but not as important as humans who will always take priority for rescue assistance. The case on Sunday was an anomaly. Once dispatchers realized that the victim was a dog — and not a human — the response was slowed. It remained unclear Tuesday afternoon whether the dog survived.




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