The phone call Deidre Renee Keech placed to Pet Smart Wednesday started calmly, routinely. It degraded–at her end only–into a bigoted, profanity-laced screaming screed that ended with a threat to shoot up Banfield Pet Hospital’s employees at Pet Smart at Town Center, and resulted in Keech’s arrest on a second-degree felony charge.
Keech would later tell a Flagler County Sheriff’s deputy that she did not have a gun and was merely upset. But as with an increasing number of recent cases, particularly since the Valentine’s Day massacre of 17 students and adults at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, law enforcement agencies in Flagler County have confronted nearly two dozen such threats, most of them less serious, and made arrests in three of them just this week (at Matanzas High School, in Bunnell and in the present case). Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly on Thursday pledged a “zero-tolerance” approach to any kind of such threats, whether in jest or out of temper.
There was nothing unserious about Keech’s threat when she uttered it, according to a recording of the conversation Pet Smart provided the Sheriff’s Office and obtained by FlaglerLive.
Keech, a 53-year-old resident of Palm Coast’s R Section, told “Amanda,” the person at the other end, that she needed to cancel the insurance on both her cats, Lexie and Raven.
Keech provides her basic information (phone number, address, zip). She provides an email address.
Amanda asks her gently why she wanted to stop the plan. “I just can’t afford it anymore,” Keech says. Amanda asks for a little patience because she can only see one insurance plan at a time. She finds Lexie’s, and tells her there are still “four payments left on the plan before we’d be able to make any changes.” It’s one of the more expensive plans, Amanda informs Keech, telling her that once it renews, it could be brought down to a less expensive one.
“It looks like Raven’s is about to renew, I could take care of her next payment then I would take care of a payment when Lexie’s plan renews in July,” Amanda says.
Clearly, Amanda is trying to steer Keech away from canceling outright, but she does so in the same even tone she’s had from the beginning of the conversation.
But Keech is even clearer. “No, I just want to cancel it, period,” she says, “because I’m going to close the credit card.” Keech seems familiar with the velvety techniques of salespeople, who are trained to equate losing accounts with catastrophes. She is not interested in wasting time, but she seems also to have overlooked the fact that she owed four more playments.
“OK, so the only way to cancel Lexie’s plan, like I said, is there’s still four payments left on her plan before we can cancel, these are year-long plans,” Amanda says.
Keech’s voice now rises as she cuts off Amanda. “Oh no no no no no, No.” Pause. “No!”
“I pay monthly, I’m not paying for another four months, year and all that crap. I’m cancelling the credit cards,” Keech says. “Don’t try to Jew any money out of me. And if you’re a Jew I apologize but I’m not dealing with it. Cancel them.” (A bigoted statement is not considered less of one just because it is coupled with an apology, anymore than a threat to carry out a shooting is not considered less of a threat when coupled with assurances that it was not serious, as Keech would soon discover.)
Amanda repeats that it’s a year-long plan. Keech yells that she doesn’t care and wants a supervisor as she yells “CAN-CEL” and spells out the word letter by letter. “I’m not paying, or don’t send me a bill,” she says, yelling at this point. Amanda speaks in the same even tone of the balance due. Keech yells, repeats the slur, and says her cats are dead–that’s why she was not paying anymore. “Now you’ve really upset me,” she yells, “because my cats are dead, and you want me to pay for year-long insurance? No.”
“It’s a year-long wellness plan,” Amanda continues.
“My cats are dead! I’m not paying for a year!”
Keech demands that someone else get on the phone or “I’m going down to Banfield and it’ll be worse if I go down there. How dare you. How dare you.”
Amanda tries to repeat something, when Keech makes her threats: ‘Don’t tell me again. You send me a bill girl,” she says, “call the cops because I’m going to shoot the shit out of Banfield, I’ve got a fucking gun and I’ll shoot the shit out of you.”
Amanda tells her she’s going to “call the cops” and hangs up.
Soon after that, Keech actually shows up at Pet Smart in Palm Coast’s Town Center. Employees there had been told by their corporate office of Keech’s call. But Keech was “calm and non-argumentative while at Banfield,” her arrest report states. An employee confronted Keech about the comments she’d made over the phone. Keech remembered making the statements, but said she was upset and did not have a gun. She got the information she needed (it’s not clear if she got her cat insurance cancelled) and left.
A sheriff’s deputy went to her house on Raemond Drive, where she related the incident as she remembered it. After the deputy received the recorded conversation from Pet Smart, he arrested Keech and she was booked at the Flagler County jail early Thursday morning on a charge of making a false report of a bomb or explosion. She was released that afternoon on $2,500 bond, and is due in court for arraignment on April 9.
No charges for the racial slurs?If the roles were reversed oh boy.
So unnecessary! It could have been handled so much better by both of them!
Genius why would a person say that
Just another black person pulling the race card! WTF does a Bomb or Explosion have to do with ANY of this versus a person expressing their hatred and desire to shoot the store up. Sure makes me want to do business in Pet Smart risking the possibility that she may show with a gun the same day I am there shopping…….Not going to happen!
@The other side of the story
I thought this story rang a bell – and it did. My people don’t care for Ms.Keech’s use of Jew the way she did, but I’ve heard it uttered the same way far more often by white people my entire life. I’ve no doubt she learned it as a child.
Anyway, she is up against more money than God has – I remember reading the following when it was published:
The High-Cost, High-Risk World of Modern Pet Care
A wave of corporatization is hitting the veterinary industry, but does a one-size-fits-all approach work?
By Jason Clenfield
“…Corporations now own 15 percent to 20 percent of America’s 26,000 pet hospitals, and consolidators, copying the model pioneered by VCA, are buying them fast. (Banfield is one of the few big businesses building its own clinics; the rest are rolling them up.) In 2014 a chain of 250 hospitals called National Veterinary Associates was purchased by Ares Management for $920 million. In 2015 the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan spent $440 million to buy a pet hospital group. Last May, VCA spent $344 million for a group of 56 hospitals pooled together by a smaller consolidator for the express purpose of flipping them. In the past 15 months, Mars has bought two hospital groups for undisclosed amounts, adding more than 100 clinics to a portfolio that already includes 950 Banfield locations. “The individual ownership of veterinary hospitals in America? It’s got one more generation,” says Bill Folger, a former board member of the American Association of Feline Practitioners. “Maybe two.”…”
Deidre Keech versus the Mars family – I wonder who will win?
The Mars family is a family that owns the confectionery company Mars, Inc., bearing their name. The family was called the richest family in the United States by Fortune magazine in 1988, since surpassed by the Walton family.
Upon the death of Forrest Mars Sr., he and his two sons were ranked No. 29, 30, and 31 by Forbes magazine’s list of richest Americans, and they each had a worth of approximately $4 billion. As of March 2010, the three children of Forrest Mars were tied for 52nd place amongst the world’s richest people according to Forbes, with a net worth of US$11 billion each.
The family is fiercely protective of their privacy, refusing to give press interviews or, with the exception of Jacqueline Mars and Victoria B. Mars, be photographed in public.
The Mars family was among 18 billionaire families who lobbied Congress to eliminate the estate tax. According to Public Citizen, since 1994 the families have spent approximately $500 million on lobbying efforts.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Now that they’ve got what they paid for from trump – I wonder if they will still be returning his calls.
Why would anybody have insurance on cats? LOL
I think she should not have to pay if the animals are deceased. Just ask for proof. She was clearly trying to pull a fast one. Otherwise, she wouldn’t have been so nasty. When are we going to learn racial prejudice comes in all colors. Not just whites! Peace and love should prevail. Stop the hatred!
Pogo – what does all of your prattle have to do with this. The lady made a threat and she was arrested as she should have been. Now she can go through the legal system to determine the consequences she has earned. Not
Born and Raised Here says
Why would this woman not know what she’s paying for and the terms of the policy. This is plain ignorance on her part. Then she torments and threatens employees of Pet Smart because of her stupidity. I think 30 days in the County Jail for her to cool down might do her good.
Word is the Chinese restaurant down the street hasn’t seen her cats either but want you to try their chicken. It’s PURRRFECT.
The list is a mile long for reasons to insure pets. Foreign bodies, cats love string. Cats are notorious for kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, diabetes in fat cats, allergies, cats who get blocked with bladder stones and can’t pee, hit by car just to names few. And all of these things can potentially cost thousands. And most average people don’t have that kind of money saved up just for their pets.
“GMath55”, you sound like you got kicked out of one too many sand boxes as a child, I hope SOMEONE warmed to your icy demeanor later in life. Perhaps thats why you seem so heartless and bitter. You are no better then the customer. I’m not sure I would risk my life pulling your a** from a retention pond you all around here keep driving into after those comments. Maybe one day you will be in the ER and they will say… OOPS, Your insurance lapsed Mr. Scrooge, NO Can Do!
@ POGO So a white person didnt say it here in this case so why does it matter and who cares who she learned it from its wrong to threaten. Second because Pet care is expensive its ok to lose it. Dont have a pet . I dont know whos more foolish you or her.
Death threats cannot be taken lightly. Send her to jail, make her attend anger management classes, and sentence her to 120 hours of community service, half to be spent at loca hospitals working with gunshot victims and the other half working at area Jewish synagogues.
joe bagodonuts says
happens in any retail environment. when the customers have to return something or other issue they often handle the situation with a chip on their shoulder and take it out on the people responding to phones or in person.
I would BET the deed to my house that she never read ALL of the health contract that she had signed BEFORE signing it. And then she expects to break the contract at her calling! To respond to POGO, if I was as wealthy as many of the families that you referenced I would also lobby for two things, ALL of the amendments and the right to donate to any lobbyist who I support.
Same bond amount as the dog abuser arrested–the guy beat and strangled the Yorkie–SAME bond Hmmm that is some BS yes its wrong what this woman SAID–but the ACTIONS of the scumbag dog abuser is way worse-
After calling all the local vets and asked their pricing for various ailments and shots, I discovered that they are not competitive and all charge exactly the same exorbitant fees. Collusion, price fixing, coincidence? Who knows. But I found that the corporate giant, Petsmart, was a much better deal. I took out a health plan that I’m happy with. I was willing to pay more for a local vet, but NOT if they are unwilling to compete with each other and then seriously overcharge to boot. Ms. Reeves could use an anger management class, but a felony? Come on sheriff, she didn’t abuse or torture her cats. As for the vile ethnic slur, I have heard it so many time from white people and people of color, it no longer crosses my line in the sand. It’s just makes me think that slur sayer is a dumbass.
Rick Kang says
This is crazy! All because of insurance on dead cats! Next will be the ACLU suiting the city because of her arrest? An it goes on and on!
It’s never a good thing to lose your temper.
Your mind seizes up.
If you get an uncaring rep from any establishment,
hang up, try again with another ear that’s willing to listen.
Always be nice. Nice customers get consideration,
the nasties get nowhere.
Lately, Amazon.com switched to the postal service in my
area and packages are chronically late or lost.
I call, have my info ready and always ask how their day is
going. It is rare when I don’t get a gift coupon for my inconvenience.
Be nice, don’t act like an ass. Be patient with people.
Do this in every aspect of your life.
Live by the golden rule.
Iva hadit says
Gmath, are you trying to be funny? Fail!
@ Al many places especially Walgreens have shot days for your pets and Flagler Animal Hospital is terrific and would work with you what she did was wrong and needs to be held accountable. That’s the problem today nobody is held accountable for their actions and her bond is ridiculous
wow no comments on gmath55 racial slurs
John dolan says
I quit buying at Pet not so smart. They would not allow me to buy a particular cat food without a vet script. My cat died.
THE VOICE OF REASON says
I’m guessing a good lawyer will get her off because they’ve charged her with the wrong thing.