Parents are always encouraging their children to eat their vegetables.

But when a child in Oyster Pond, N.S., refused to eat their salad and called 911 to complain, that earned the youngster more than a lesson on cleaning his plate.

“We saw that as a teachable moment with a 12-year-old child,” said Nova Scotia RCMP spokesman Cpl. Dal Hutchinson.

The Mounties were called to the scene Tuesday by a 12-year-old who didn’t like a salad their guardian had made.

Before police arrived, the child called again, asking how long officers would be because they did not like the salad.

The RCMP say these calls are all too common, even with adults.

“One example where a gentlemen ordered a donair, there wasn't enough donair meat according to him,” Hutchinson said. “He felt it was best to call 911 and have police attend and deal with the donair issue.”

Police say people who misuse 911 services could face a hefty fine of $697.50.

Emergency officials say dialing 911 is a serious matter and misuse can lead to a loss of resources in life or death situations.

“The more of those inappropriate calls that we can take out of the system the more effectively we can operate,” says

Paul Mason, of Nova Scotia’s Emergency Management Office.“If you, or someone you care about, or property, is in immediate danger, by all means call 911 - but just take a moment to think about that.”

Officials say the average number of inappropriate calls to 911 is ranges between 18 and 20 percent annually, and that education must continue to lower those statistics.

When it comes to the salad fiasco, Hutchinson said police chose not to fine the child. Instead, they chose to make it a teachable moment and educate the 12-year-old -- and adults -- on the proper use of 911 services.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Suzette Belliveau.