What do hamburger-eating cats, video game squabbles and an unwanted carpet roll have in common?
Chatham-Kent police can't quite believe it, but people in their southwestern Ontario area apparently thought these were all situations requiring an emergency response.
A woman who called 911 because her cats ate her Whopper and she wanted another one earned the dubious top spot on the Chatham-Kent Police Service "Top 10 Silly Calls of 2011."
It's the third annual instalment of the list. Last year's No. 1 was a woman who called police to complain that her ex-boyfriend gave her perfume as a gift, when all she really wanted was drugs.
"It does surprise me that we're still getting these ... calls that are so outlandish," said Const. Michael Pearce.
This year there was such an embarrassment of riches that the force could have issued a Top 20 list, but managed to pare it down to 10, Pearce said.
"We don't want people to stop calling 911 or the police if they need assistance, but we want to make sure that it's police-related," he said.
One of Pearce's favourites that should not have warranted a call to police was about an errant carpet that turned out to be not so errant after all.
A man called to report that he found a roll of carpet on his front lawn and wanted an officer to come to his home. He later cancelled his call when he found out his wife put it there.
Also not requiring police intervention: domestic squabbles over which video game system to play or who gets to sleep on a certain side of a sofa.
Alcohol likely a factor in many calls
Pearce said he suspects alcohol was a factor in some of the top 10 calls.
The full list from the Chatham-Kent Police Service:
10. During a snow emergency in early February, a woman called police to complain that snowplows were cleaning her street and making too much noise.
9. A 17-year-old youth called police looking for advice. He wanted to know if he could disown his mother because she wouldn’t give him money.
8. A man called police because he found a roll of carpet on his front lawn and wanted an officer to come to his house to investigate. He cancelled the call when he found out his wife put it there.
7. A woman called 911 after she was denied entry to a night club. She forgot her identification and wanted an officer to come and run her name to prove to the security staff that she was of legal drinking age. When she was told police don’t do that, she argued that they should.
6. A man called 911 to request an ambulance for a friend. Before disconnecting the call, the call taker overheard a man in the background say, “Don’t worry, I’ll get rid of the dope”. Needless to say, police were dispatched as well. True to his word, the man must have ditched the dope as officers didn’t find any.
5. A man called police when he saw a “small lion” cross the road in front of him. He was also quick to point out that he had not smoked any drugs that day.
4. A woman called police to have a man removed from her residence. She no longer wanted his company after they were sharing a sofa to sleep on. She wanted the other end but the man wouldn’t switch.
3. A man called 911 to report that his vehicle had just been stolen from his driveway. He provided a description and the direction of travel. Officers scoured the area but were unable to locate it until they came to his house and found it right where he left it. The caller attempted to cover his mistake by making up a story that the suspects returned the “stolen” car to his driveway and fled. Officers didn’t buy it. It turned out the man saw a vehicle just like his drive by his house and jumped to the conclusion his had been stolen.
2. Police were sent to a home after someone dialed 911 and screams could be heard in the background. The investigation revealed that a couple were arguing because the man wanted to play Xbox while the woman wanted to play Nintendo Wii. The tipping point came when the man opened a new package of cigarettes when another package was already open.
1. A woman called 911 because her cats ate her hamburger and she wanted another one.
Chatham-Kent Police also named its dumbest criminal of 2011.
While an officer was parked in front of a house in a fully marked police cruiser, a driver pulled up and stopped to see what the officer was up to.
The man got out of his car to find out why the officer was parked in front of his friend’s house. As he walked towards the cruiser, he attempted to conceal a baggie in his hand.
The officer saw this and found the man had three baggies of cocaine in his possession.
The 35-year-old Blenheim man was arrested and charged with drug possession.