80% of 9-1-1 calls are for bogus things like barking dogs

FRANKLIN COUNTY, Wash. -- People calling 9-1-1 for rides, barking dogs and aliens. It sounds crazy, but it happens every day in the Tri-Cities.

Dispatch operators like Barb Hart are not amused. These days, a staggering 80% of the calls she receives are for non-emergencies. Bogus calls that could take up precious time the next time you need help.

"Our resources are focused on the priority emergency and when we take calls for barking dogs, it keeps people from reporting other emergencies," Hart says.

Hart doesn't think people are trying to be malicious. They're just confused about who to call for a certain issue, so they turn to the number that stands out the most.

"It's confusion... it's people playing around... it's butt dialing... it's everything," Hart tells KEPR.

If there's a golden lining to all of this, it's that there are now more workers to handle the workload. For the first time in years, Franklin County 9-1-1 is fully-staffed.

Dispatchers say it's normal to receive a bogus call each hour of the day.

They encourage you to call 2-1-1 or 4-1-1 if you need help, but it isn't an emergency.