Page last updated at 11:24 GMT, Wednesday, 20 May 2009 12:24 UK

Dog antics raise murder suspicion

Police have told of their relief after discovering a 999 call they feared could be a murder in progress was actually made by a 14-month-old dog.

Bailey, a Golden Retriever from Herefordshire, had run off with a cordless phone in his mouth and dialled 999 while chewing it, police said.

The operator raised the alarm when she heard heavy breathing and shouting.

"Come out or else, I'm warning you", were the last words she heard before the call ended and she alerted police.

Hide and seek

When the operator finally managed to call the number back, Jodie Halfpenny explained that her dog Bailey was to blame.

He had stolen the handset and run off into the garden to chew it, she said.

Ms Halfpenny, from Withington, Herefordshire, and her partner Jamie gave chase, but Bailey thought it was a game and hid behind the shed and refused to come out.

The call was made at about 1630 BST on 20 April just as the couple were ordering Bailey to come out.

'Potential murder'

Ms Halfpenny said: "Bailey chews everything he can just now, but we didn't think he could dial 999."

A spokesman for West Mercia Police said: "Staff thought they had a violent domestic or even a potential murder on their hands.

"For a few moments, they wondered what sort of incident they were dealing with.

"An operator phoned the number back hesitantly, only to be greeted by a very apologetic woman who confirmed that all was well and that the culprit was not her husband- but the dog. You just couldn't think this stuff up, could you."

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