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Reduce Your Risk of Outdoor
Shocks or Electrocution is a non-partisan initiative organized and led by Blair Sorrel to reduce the year round risk of injury and fatality from contact voltage shocking or electrocution resulting from damaged or tampered wiring.

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Testimonies attempts to validate the veracity and confirm the particulars of all submitted reports and fully encourages the bonafide cooperation of the Responder, Utility, and the Department of Transportation in its effort to inform the Public of this ubiquitous hazard.
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Dogs Shocked Stepping in Puddle of Water

2/5/2016 John Purvis. East 90th Street 1st Avenue (NW Corner), New York, NY weather: Snow. Unconfirmed.

Was walking 2 medium sized dogs.  Stepped down from curb to street at NW I corner of East 90th Street near 1st Avenue the dogs began yelping.

When I looked down both were lying in a puddle and one was biting the other by the lip.  I attempted to get the biting dog to break his hold and finally was able to do so.  One was able to get up but went right down again after taking a step.

By then I realized they were likely being electrocuted and pulled them clear of the puddle by their leashes.  They were able to get up and walk without difficulty . I believe the water they were lying in was conducting electricity from the storm grate on that corner and notified Con Ed.

Fortunately, other than the bite, they do not seem to be injured but all and all it was a nasty business and very upsetting to me and the dogs.

Dog Shocked Entering Apartment Building

1/22/2016 Jason Whitmer.  800 South 4th St. (by York St.)  Louisville, KY.  Weather: Snow Storm. Confirmed.

Dog Shocked Entering Apartment Building

Our dog was coming up to the front doors of our apartment building, it was snowy, wet conditions and was freshly salted on a concrete sidewalk, about 4ft from the door  . . .   he jumped a couple times, then hit the ground and yelped for about 2 minutes. 

The Concierge then informed us that a lady's dog had gotten zapped in the same area the last time it stormed. 

My son was with him, he called when it happened and I came down from our 21st floor apartment.  When I got there he was still yelping and when I touched him I could feel an electric tingle feeling.  So I dragged him away by the leash. 

His paw was bleeding, his bowels released and was very very disoriented.


We took him to an emergency Vet, and she said the puncture in his paw wasn't a burn, but I'm convinced it was electric shock.


  Update 1/29/2016

Dog Shocked Entering Apartment Building


The faulty wiring was located in the ceiling.  It had the door energized, and during a storm the concrete out front of the door was wet, and that is where he was electrocuted.  He was approximately 4 feet away from the door.

Dog Shocked Walking on Sidewalk

12/28/2013 Anonymous.  792 / 800 Franklin St., Brooklyn, NY.  Weather: Cold and wet - not raining.  Salt on the ground.  Unconfirmed.

I was walking my dog and he suddenly spasmed and acted like his back legs had disconnected for a moment - he couldn't walk straight (for no reason - we'd not been running or slipped or stepped on anything sharp).  We turned around to go to the vet, but then he was fine.

This was around 792 Franklin (approximate address).  On our way back from the park, we turned onto the same block, and around 800 Franklin, my dog spasmed again and started bolting towards home.

I called 311 and they sent police there; since then there have been a bunch of orange-and-white temporary guardrails along that section of sidewalk, as well as an orange-and-white rubber strip on the ground.  I haven't heard that it is a confirmed streetzap site, but I wanted to flag it.

Dog Shocked Walking by Streetlight

12/22/2013 Anonymous. 1511 8th Ave (btwn 15th & 16th St.) Brooklyn, NY.  Weather: Unusually warm.  Mixed.  Confirmed.

I just got off the phone with 311.  Every day this week, when my dog and I have walked by the middle of the block on 8th Ave b/w 15th and 16th, she has yelped and popped up and then acted very afraid.

The first time it happened, I thought she had stepped on something, but kept happening and then this morning, I realized (because it was light out!) that it was right next to a light pole!  I think it's leaking electricity!  So I called, and walked over there and gave her the address (middle of the block, in front of 1511) and she said that someone else had already complained about it!

Read more info about avoiding shocks at FIDO In Prospect Park.

Dog Shocked Walking on Sidewalk

12/22/2013 Anonymous. E.  7th Street, between Avenue C and D.  New York City, NY.  Weather: Unusually warm.  Confirmed.

About 7 buildings on the block have had cones and caution tape around the front of the building and parked cars.  No one on the block knew why they were there.  While walking past this area, my dog yelped out in great pain.  His heart was racing and he was visibly upset.  We thought he had hurt his paw on a sharp object.

This morning, it happened again and we realized the pavement was electrified.  Though Con Ed had hired a subcontractor to guard the spot, he hadn't warned anyone or alerted pedestrians and their dogs to the danger.  The police were called and have guarded the spot til the arrival of a Con Ed emergency crew.

Read more at EV Grieve: Resident Shocked About Con Ed's Nonchalance Over Stray Voltage.

Dog Shocked Stepping on Sidewalk Grate

11/25/2013 Anonymous.  400 N.  McClurg Court, Chicago, IL.  Weather: Snowy, wet.  Confirmed.

I was walking my dog and she stepped on a sidewalk grate on the south side of the block in front of the Downtown Children's Learning Place (a daycare center).  She immediately started screaming in agony and could not be comforted for several minutes.  Every time she stood up on the sidewalk (which was wet and covered with salt), she started screaming again.

I had no idea what was wrong until I tried to lift her into the car of a good neighbor who offered to drive her and me to the vet.  When I lifted her I could feel the electrical current in her body.  Even after several minutes had passed after she stepped on the grate, I could still feel the electrical shock in her body.  It was terrible.

I took her to the vet and, thankfully, there does not appear to be any permanent damage.  We were very lucky.  I had no idea about this phenomenon until someone told me that had read a news article about it.  Then I googled it and saw what a significant safety issue it is in all cities.

Multimeter Measuring Electical Current on Sidewalk

Dog Shocked on Sidewalk

7/24/2013 Juan Vacca.  766 Willoughby Way NE, Atlanta, GA.  Weather: Rainy.  Confirmed.

I noticed my dog was getting shock in a corner of the public park over the concrete sidewalk.  I decided to take a multimeter an measure for any electricity. 

I found the concrete conducts 84v.  when is wet.   

Dog Shocked Urinating on Light Pole

6/23/2013 Anonymous.  NE Corner 20th St.  & First Ave, New York City, NY.  Weather: Clear.  Confirmed.

Dog lifted leg to urinate and let out a yelp now hobbling on front paw and padding is slit, keeps licking wound. 

Dog Shocked on Sidewalk

2/9/2013 Anonymous.  SE Corner of Hicks & Remsen Street, Brooklyn, NY.  Weather: Clear, Snow on ground.  Unconfirmed.

Our dog yelped in a way we've never heard and jumped in the air.  We checked her paws, thinking she stepped on something sharp, having no idea that electrified sidewalk grates are a thing that happens.  Her paws seemed fine, so we kept walking -- the poor thing jumped and yelped again.  We were mystified.  Just then another woman and dog walked by, and we warned her that something painful was on the ground at that spot.  She proceeded carefully, but her dog also jumped and yelped. 

Our dog was physically fine, but for the rest of the (long) walk home was shaking, scared, and kept trying to bury herself in snow drifts.  A neighbor clued us in to the electrified grate issue, and it seems obvious that's what happened.  I'm almost positive there was a metal plate of some kind on that corner (right next to a mailbox I believe).

Dog Shocked by Light Pole

1/26/13 Anonymous.  4530 North 5th St., Philadelphia, Pa.  Weather: Snow.  Unconfirmed.

As I walked my dog he turned and made contact with the light pole.  He made the loudest yelp and it took him down in a insistence (my dog is a very big 145 lbs he should have not been taken down like that).  I placed a call to PECO and I was told someone would be out.

  • New York City
  • Daytona Beach, Fl
  • Bronxville, NY
  • Philadelphia, Pa
  • Virginia
  • New Jersey

Woman Shocked Stepping on Manhole Cover

7/19/12 – Anonymous.  Westside of Intersection of Greenwich and Murray Street, New York City, NY.  Weather: Warm, humid, dry.  Confirmed.

I was crossing the street and stepped on a manhole cover.  Received a shock up my foot past my ankle.  Not life-threatening at all, but am concerned because the neighborhood is full of young children and dogs. 

City Investigates Manhole Cover –  Update 07/20/12

The Department of Transportation inspected the condition and issued a Corrective Action Repair (CAR) to the contractor or utility company.  The responsible party has a maximum of 30 days to correct the condition.  If the condition still exists, a summons will be issued.  In some cases, the Department of Transportation will make the repairs and charge the responsible party for the costs.

Dog Shocked Walking on Sidewalk

4/4/12 – Anonymous.  Sidewalk at 26 King Street, New York City, NY.  Weather: Sunny.  Confirmed.

My dog was shocked and survived, but experienced PTSD for several days following the event.  There was no metal around, the event happened on the sidewalk. 

Lamppost Shocks Woman and Her Dog

8/9/12 – Robin Tierney.  Northeast side of Intersection at South Peninsula Drive and Mobile Ave, Daytona Beach, Fl.  Weather: Shortly after thunderstorm.  Confirmed.

I was walking my dog on leash and as we rounded the corner, coming from the west end of Mobile Ave, turning onto Peninsula Ave., heading north, my dog screamed and cried and I immediately felt the electrical current surging up my arm holding the leash.  I yanked her and myself away from the lamppole to a grassy patch.  It was hard to do, as if she was stuck.  She continued yelping awhile, and I felt electrified and in great discomfort.  I called Florida Power and Light, and the representative recorded a report, but I don't know what they plan to do.  The right side of my body, particularly my right hand, arm and leg, still tingle.  I hope my dog is okay.  This was so frightening.

Dog Shocked Sniffing Utility Pole

3/8/12 – Anonymous.  Sidewalk on Palmer Road (between Brooklands & Bronxville Road – exact location unknown), Bronxville, NY.  Weather: Warm.  Unconfirmed.

My dog got a shock thru him snffing a utility pole across the street.

Dog Shocked By Manhole Cover

1/21/12 – Danielle Thompson.  South Street, corner of 4th or 5th Street (exact location unknown), Philadelphia, Pa.  Weather: Snow/Slush.  Unconfirmed.

I was walking my large dog down the sidewalk when she got shocked (very badly) by stepping on a manhole cover.  I've never seen a dog behave like this- she starting barking/screaming and was jumping and snapping all over the sidewalk and street for a good few minutes after it happened.  BE CAREFUL PET OWNERS!  I hope you never have to see this happen!

Dog Shocked Sniffing Lampost

7/3/12 – Anonymous.  Parking area at 21453 Deepwood Terrace, Broadlands, Va.  Exact location unknown.  Weather: Unknown.  Unconfirmed.

I was walking my dog.  I let him sniff around a bit after he does his business.  He was sniffing around a lamp post, when all the sudden, he yelped and became very very uncomfortable.  This is the second time it has happened in this apartment complex.  I have to believe this was an electrical shock.  He is normally a very mild mannered dog, but this really shook him up.

Dog Shocked By Light Fixture

1/16/12 – Anonymous.  Welburn Sq., N Stuart St.  and 9th St.  North, Arlington, Va.  Weather: Damp from previous rain.  Confirmed.

My dog urinated on a tree and short light fixture coming out of the ground next to the tree.  The dog yelped in pain and jumped away.

Dog Shocked Sniffing Lamp Post

7/9/12 – Bette Byars.  20 Evanine Drive, Berlin, NJ.  Weather: Clear.  Confirmed.

I was walking my dog down the street (my dog wears an electronic collar for walking off leash), he stopped to sniff at the lamp post, and all of a sudden he yelped and jumped about 3 inches off the ground.  He is a 100 pound German Shepherd, he wears a chock collar also, but he really felt whatever came out of that lamppost. 

  • Arlington, Va
  • London
  • Gaithersburg, Md
  • New York City
  • Philadelphia

Dog Shocked Sniffing Utility Box

11/2011 – Anonymous.  SE Corner Fairfax Drive and Randolph Rd., Arlington, Va.  Weather Clear, cool.  Confirmed.

My dog was sniffing a utility box on the SE corner of Fairfax Dr.  and Randolph Rd.  He yelped with pain and jumped away.  Afterwards, he was shaking and frightened.

Dog Electrocuted On Side Walk Enroute To Doctor

6/10/2011 – Stephanie Prescott.  Corner of Courtfield Gardens and Collingham Road SW5, London.  Weather: Heavy Rain.  Confirmed.

My Mother was walking with our two beloved dogs, Casey and Baby, to come and meet me at the Doctor's surgery.  It was raining heavily and my Mother didn't want me to get soaked so she was bringing me an umbrella.

As she reached the pavement outside the Doctor's surgery both Casey and Baby started screeching and jumping up and down on the pavement like they were having some sort of fit.  Mum tried to calm them down and was bitten by Casey on the leg as she was in so much pain, after a few moments both of the dogs drop on the floor like they had been stunned, Mum screamed at a passer-by to come and get me from the Doctor's and when I ran out I could not figure out what had happened, when we touched the girls we were thrown back by a strong current and all we could think was that they had been struck by lightning.

My initial thought was to get their harnesses off as they contained metal and could be retaining the current, it took a lot of strength to do this as current was transferring into us.  When I was pulling off our smaller dog, baby's harness she started to move so automatically I lifted her up, the only way I can describe her is like a new born baby before it has its first cry, she was soaking wet and completely limp apart from this strong buzzing which was going through her whole body into me, I rubbed her and she came back to us, I passed her to my Mum and tried to help Casey, Casey was much larger than baby and every time Mum and I tried to pick her up we were thrown back by the current, I could not even touch her ear to comfort her and my memory of her looking at me haunts me, I feel so guilty that I could pick up Baby but not our Casey girl.  As I knelt down to comfort her I felt an electric current shooting through my knees and it was then that we realised the voltage was coming through the floor and all that time had been going through Casey.  Lots of people had gathered and I had screamed for a Doctor who just stood there, there were a couple builders there who said we should leave her, I understand that people cannot put their lives at risk but if we could have moved her she would have been ok.

What felt like forever was only a few minutes and devastatingly our loving, gentle girl died there on the street in the rain.

She was such a loyal companion, my mother had rescued her from Spain when she had been abandoned to fend for herself, she went everywhere with her for the next 7 years, she didn't ask for anything but love and was so content.

We lost more than a pet that day, we lost a member of our family and in such a horrific way.

We have since found out that another dog walker had reported an electric fault to the council in the same area 2 weeks before, nothing had been done about this all that time and it enrages me that if this had been a child that had been killed it would have been in the news and there would have been outrage, but as it is 'just a dog' nothing has been done.  We are still awaiting the investigation findings, nearly 4 months later, with the council blaming the Power company and vice versa.

Nothing will bring our Casey back but if this awful incident can educate people on what to do should this ever happen to them or improve the health and safety knowledge of builders or even Doctors to know what to do, another dog's life could be saved. 


UPDATE: Dog's Death Triggers Start Of Landmark Case Challenging The Lack Of Value Placed On A Pet's Life.  2/17/2012 – Anonymous.

The horrific death of a dog on a London street has triggered the start of a landmark legal case which is set to challenge England’s ‘backward’ laws that place little or no value on a pet’s life.  Current legislation dictates that dogs can be classed as ‘property’ rather than live animals.  This historic stance is now being questioned as part of a compensation claim being put together by Leeds-based Metis Law, the result of which could have far-reaching significance for animal-lovers across the country. 

The legal practice stepped in to take on the case pro bono only after no other solicitor would fight the law in the way the owners of the dog ‘a black Labrador Rottweiler crossbreed named Casey’ wanted.  Casey was killed in broad daylight after being electrocuted whilst being taken for a walk in the rain in Kensington on June 10 last year.  She was fatally struck down by a surge from a faulty power cable beneath a pavement at the corner of Courtfield Gardens and Collingham Road. 

At the centre of the legal battle is UKPower Networks, which it is claimed laid a lamp post cable too shallow and without sufficient protection; and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council, whose Highways department is accused of not making proper checks before laying the pavement.  ’This case has been prompted by the principle of whether a dog is an object or a living being, plus a determination to ensure lessons are learned to prevent harrowing incidents like this from being repeated,’ said solicitor Rajat Sharma, a founding partner of Metis Law, ‘Current legislation does not adequately support the one-in-three families in the UK who are pet owners and requires a modern-day challenge.  “Casey’s family is still grieving and trying to come to terms with their loss,” he said.  “Like many pets, she was a beloved member of the family and the incident has robbed them of this. 

Casey’s untimely death has been heart-breaking for them and left a gaping hole in their lives.”  He added: “There is an anomaly within the backward laws that exist in this country that needs to be addressed.  On one hand, we have a raft of cruelty legislation to safeguard the health and well-being of pets, clearly and correctly treating them as live beings.  “Yet, when it comes to putting a value on the loss of pets such as Casey, and the traumatic impact it can have on their owners, there’s a different approach.  They're simply viewed merely as objects and, as a result, deemed pretty much worthless.” 

Casey was one of two dogs owned by the Eaton family.  Mum Deborah was walking both of them as she went to meet her daughter, Stephanie when both pets both started having what seemed like a fit.  After a few minutes both pets collapsed.  When Deborah touched them she was thrown back by an electrical current at the time she assumed this had been caused by being hit by lightning.  Stephanie was able to save their smaller dog, Baby, by picking her up but sadly Casey died at the scene.  “The current running through her was so strong that I could not even touch the tip of her ear,” said Stephanie.  “It was only when I kneeled on the pavement to comfort her that I felt the current through my knees and realised it was in the ground.”  Both my mum and I were advised by our doctor to have a heart scan as we had received a shock, and the doctor at A&E confirmed my heart rate was rapid. 

The stress and trauma of the whole episode has also caused me to come out in terrible eczema.  My mother suffers with depression and is at an all-time low because of this awful accident played out in front of us.  ”I feel if this had been a child rather than our dog that was killed, this situation would be being dealt with in a completely different manner.”  The family have voiced their concerns in meetings with both local MP Linda Wade and officers from the council’s Highways department. 

They also reported it to police, who advised the area to be cordoned off after finding the pavement to be ‘boiling hot’.  It has also been confirmed that the council were informed of a similar incident at the location by another dog owner just two weeks before Casey’s death.  The case will also explore why proper corrective action was not taken then.

Hot Light Pole In Cold Snow

2/8/2011 Anonymous.  305 Inspiration Lane, Gaithersburg, Md.  Weather: Cold, snow on ground.  Unconfirmed.

Crossed street with dog.  Had to walk through snow to get on sidewalk.  Dog stopped and sniffed light pole.  She yelped loudly and jumped back.  I touched the light pole and felt nothing.  No sign of injury to dog.

Little Dog Big Shock

2/1/2011 – Anonymous.  Driggs Ave and North 8 Street, Brooklyn, NY.  Weather: Rainy, freezing.  Confirmed.

My little dog was shocked on a metal plate in the middle of the intersection.  Reported to 311, transferred to 911 and now Con Ed emergency is there addressing it.  My dog is fine.

It's Not Salt, It's A Shock

1/12/2011 – Hannah Moorhead.   Roebling Street and Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn, NY.  Weather: Following Winter Storm, Slush/Snow/Salt.   Confirmed.

She was walking and all of a sudden started bobbing her head up and down like a gecko - convulsing, really.   I thought all her paws were hurting from the rock salt that was there, but when I went to wipe her paws, she kinda fell over and curled all her paws!  I panicked and dragged her off that spot and threw her in fresh snow to clean her paws. 

She seemed OK after, but damn, I think she was actually shocked right there!  I've never seen her react like THAT even when stepping on acid rocks.   She usually just starts limping. 

Philly Double Shocker

1/18/ 2011 – Kristen Toland.   2400 block of South Street (first half of block/North side of street), Philadelphia, PA.  Weather: Damp and chilly (low 30s).  Unconfirmed.

My dog and my friend's dog were both shocked.   Just jumped, tried to run away, disoriented.   Once we realized I remembered my older dog had something happen on that block about 2 years ago, same spot.   I just never go that way with him, but walking with him and with another person I didn't think anything of it.   

My dog seems okay now, waiting for an update on hers, she (dog) was much more upset and jumpy than mine.

Shocked Dog Jumps and Runs

1/8/2011 – Anonymous.   23rd Walnut Street (northeast corner of street), Philadelphia, Pa.  Weather: Snow.   Confirmed.

Walking the dog and he practically jumped out of his harness and ran into the street.   I had to carry him home – no small feet considering he weights 100 lbs.

  • New York
  • Chicago
  • Overland Park, Ks
  • Allston, Ma
  • Seattle

Dog Shocked in Hell's Kitchen

12/27/2010 – 544 West 50th Street, New York City, NY.  Weather: Following Winter Storm, Slush/Snow/Salt.  Unconfirmed.

Dog received obviously painful shock on sidewalk on south side of street between mid-block and 11th Avenue.  Did not see any wiring loose or other indicator.  Neighbor also had this happen to his dog.

Hazardous Building Entrance

6/20/10 – Zach Bower.   Building entrance at 269 West 25th Street.   Confirmed.   Weather: Clear/Warm

 Slightly adjacent to the entry way of 269 W.  25th Street, I have observed exposed wiring in the planter where there previously appears to have been an outlet or wiring for a light.   I initially noticed this serious hazard during the winter after a snow storm when the sidewalk had been salted but not shoveled, I noticed the snow around the wiring was melted and the the wires were smoking.   I attempted to find the superintendent for the building with no luck.

Residents Concerned – updated 06/18/10

I walked past this building on Friday and managed to catch some residents of the building and they were very concerned as they were going to til the dirt over the weekend to grow some plants, they both said they would immediately notify building management.   

Live Current Verified – updated 06/20/10

I walked by again with a voltage detector to determine if the circuit was still live and it was, there are 3 wires coming out of the dirt which someone attempted to insulate with electrical tape, however the area is not safe and needs to be addressed.

Dog Nervous Passing Scaffolding

1/21/10 – Anonymous.  Columbus Avenue (East side of Street to midway down the block).  Confirmed.  Weather: Cold (38)/Dry.

I'm not sure if it's shocks, but my dog won't walk from the middle of 77th (starts from where the street is dug up and scaffolding) to around the corner on Columbus Avenue past Isabella's until just past Kenneth Cole's.   She won't walk or move and looks scared and I have to pick her up.   She is medium and black and weighs about 18 lbs

Dog Still Nervous – updated 2/16/10

I had another experience with my dog last night as I walked her from 76th St.  & CPW to 75th St.  and along the downtown side of 75 St.  towards Columbus.   About 5 ft in she wouldn't walk again (I think she may be super sensitive?).   I picked her up and saw a large electrical box on a pole there on the sidewalk (a transformer?) I don't know if it was looming over her and that spooked her, so I carried her about 5 feet further and then she was okay.

Dog Shocked in Chicago Playground

3/9/10 – Matthew Swenson.   In Playground on the corner of N.  Magnolia Ave and W.  Bryn Mawr Ave.   Weather: mid 50's, Damp/Wet.   Unconfirmed

I was letting my 3 year old Great Dane/Pit Bull mix run in the back (grassy, away from the playground equipment) part of the playground on the corner of N.  Magnolia and W.  Bryn Mawr.   We had come in from the entrance on Magnolia, and if you follow that pathway straight ahead on the left about 50 or so feet, there is a light pole (the one with a sign posted on it that prohibits any Booze in the park).  He started sniffing around, and I was idly watching him waiting to throw his ball for him when he suddenly let out this horrorific strained yelp and, I KID YOU NOT, shot straight up in the air about 2 feet.   I ran over to him and got him the hell away from the pole not knowing if he got shocked, bit, cut his pad or any of the other awful things that were going through my mind.   

He seemed to bounce back pretty quickly to normal, but there was a few moments of shock and he was pretty dazed and his heart was pounding like mad.   I did think that I was going to have to carry him home for a few minutes, but he was ok.

He weighs about 95lbs so I would imagine that his size protected him a bit, but if this had been a smaller dog, or a kid playing on the playground, the outcome might have been much worse.   

I will be contacting ConEd right now, and the Parks Department tomorrow (3/10/10) to let them know about this.

Girl Shocked on Sidewalk

10/9/2009 – E.  Collins, crosswalk at Addison St.  and Hermitage Ave, Chicago, Il.   Confirmed.  Weather: Sunny.

I was walking across crosswalk and my daughter fell to her knees crying ...  had felt strong shock on her head?

Two Greyhounds Shocked by Lamppost in Chicago, Il.

1/7/10 – Joanna Zarach.  1390 W Fullerton Ave, Chicago, Il, 60614, East of North Southport Avenue, Chicago, Il  Confirmed.  Weather: Snowy.

I was walking my two greyhounds on a city sidewalk and one of them started yelping and went down on his legs, the terrible screams that dogs make when they are in terrible pain continued as his entire body was rigid.  I dropped to my knees into the slushy snow to try to help him/figure out what was wrong when I felt a current of electricity - at that moment, I realized that he was being electrocuted.  I pushed his rigid/motionless body off of the sidewalk and onto the street to get him as far way from the spot near the lamppost as possible.  He lay there motionless, strangers started running to help. 

Someone called 911, my other dog stepped forward and also started to get electrocuted I pushed him off as quickly as I could as well and was on a receiving end of a panicked dog bite.  The first dog started to come to, but of course he was laying in a wet snow puddle in the middle of the street in 24 degree weather.  I asked someone who lived across the street to bring some blankets, and I handed my 2nd dog to someone to hold. 

My 1st dog started to get up and the kind strangers offered to take them to the lobby of their building where they would at least get out of the freezing weather.  One of them carried the 1st dog indoors.  I left the dogs there with the good Samaritans (all dog owners), ran a block to get my car and husband and got them to the vet. 

The dogs are okay, but they are in the animal hospital under observation.  Police didn't seem to care that there was live current even though I wasn't the only person who could feel it - a gentleman could feel a zap through his shoes.  Called the city to report this incident since the power company told us it was not their responsibility.

Dog Shocked by Manhole Cover

4/22/09 - Anonymous.   Foster Street towards 91st Street, Overland Park, KS.   Unconfirmed.   Weather: had been raining.

Walking along Foster Street towards 91st Street, when we came to the south west corner of the intersection our dog moved near a man hole cover that was approximately 10 feet from a traffic signal light.   It appeared that some one from the city had recently been working on that light because the marking paint was still in the grass along with marker flags.   It was in the middle of a calm walk that the dog suddenly started screaming and took off running like something had and was attacking her.   She has always been a good walker, right by your side the whole time.   

It was a cool night .  .  .  and there were no signs of bite marks or sore places on her body.   She had bowel and bladder evacuation during the incident.   Luckily she was not hurt except for her nerves.

Dog Suffers Double, Man Single Shock on Sidewalk

12/28/2010 – Stephanie Smith.  174 North Brighton Ave and Park Vale Ave, Allston, MA.  Weather: Following Winter Storm, Slush/Snow/Salt.  Unconfirmed

While out for a walk my dog, Porter, was shocked twice by voltage from an electrical plate in the sidewalk.  It was covered from view by snow and slush.  He screeched in pain and was unable to move for a few mins.  When the fear subsided, I moved him to a safe sidewalk location and a passerby helped me by calling 911.  At this time we did not know what caused his injury.  The dispatch refused to send an officer because it was animal related.  It was not until a man stepped in the same area and felt the shock that emergency responders arrived.

Since the incident I have read many accounts of stray voltage ending in fatalites among pets.  This saddens and angers me that this hazzard was previously unknown to me and that it exists at all.  I would like other pet owners to know how quickly tragedy can strike.  In the meantime, I will change our walking habits to prevent tragedy in my family.

I Still Don't Believe It!

6/2/2011 – Lisa McKibbin.   Update.

My beloved dog Sam, at 6 ½ years old, was tragically killed while on a walk with me in Seattle on Thanksgiving Day, 2010.   The city had been hit with a severe snowstorm that holiday week, so for this reason, I do not like to venture far from home to go to our normal hiking area and instead took our daily walk through the neighborhood.   Never did I expect that I would not be returning home with my sweet boy.

After finishing Thanksgiving brunch, we set out on our walk, I wearing snow boots and Sam in his new down jacket that my mom had just gotten him one week prior.   We came to the main drag of Queen Anne, where lots of shops and restaurants and hundreds, if not thousands, of passersby visit and traverse daily with their children and pets in tow, when I noticed in the slight distance a mother and child with their dog traveling toward us.   As they approached us, and I being unsure of how friendly the dog was, told the mother that I would step to the side and let them pass.   When I moved over, Sam began to screech and wail, his body convulsing heavily.   He began to jump around as if he had stepped on something sharp.   I had no idea what was happening to him! I began to panic, and spoke to him as if he were my child, “Baby, what’s happening to you, please, let me take a look at you”.   When I reached for his paw, thinking he had some object stuck in it, Sam fell to the ground near a metal plate and light pole.   He was still convulsing as if having a seizure, and then he bit my thumb.   I had to pull it from his mouth for he would not let go.   I still did not know what was happening to my poor dog.   I could not believe what was happening, a perfectly healthy happy dog who all of a sudden was dying in my arms.

I began to scream for help when two men came to Sam’s aid.   One was a nurse who administered CPR, another who said Sam had been electrocuted.   Sam could not be saved, it was too late.    As I sobbed, my reaction to the man’s conclusion that Sam died from electrocution was, “what? What do you mean electrocuted, how is that possible”?  The man then told me to stick my hand in Sam’s mouth when I felt a shock, a current go through my hand.   I still couldn’t believe what was happening, even more so that Sam had been electrocuted.   I couldn’t believe how this was at all possible, we were just walking down a sidewalk. 

I had never heard of the term contact voltage.   I didn’t know what it was, what it did or why it even existed, until now.   I began to do some research on this hidden and deadly danger and found that we were all at risk that day, I could’ve been killed, the people helping Sam could’ve been injured or killed.   Sam’s death was not an isolated incident.   The City of Seattle, Seattle City Light had found numerous contact voltage problems in light poles and metal plates following Sam’s death, but have since made repairs.   However, it is important to note that contact voltage occurs intermittently and may surface even after a survey or repairs have been completed.   There have been several recent incidents involving dogs being shocked within the last month in Seattle.   If contact voltage can easily kill a dog, it can kill a human and it already has. 

What I thought was going to be a great walk with my best buddy instead turned deadly.   I had always believed that all was safe walking on sidewalks, standing near, or touching a light pole, even walking on metal plates that can been seen almost everywhere.   My life has changed forever.   I hope Sam’s story can inform and help others to keep safe, be aware of surroundings and learn how to stay protected from dangerous conductive objects, such as light poles, metal plates, even fire hydrants and other metal structures.   Sam is a hero. 

Goodbye Sammy

11/27/2010 – Lisa McKibbin.  Queen Anne Avenue North, Seattle, Washington.  Confirmed.

Hi, my name is Lisa, I started a blog in memoriam of my beloved dog Sammy, who I just lost in a terrible tragedy.   This goes out to all dog/pet lovers, owners and anyone who would like to help spread the word in keeping our pets safe while walking on the streets.   Visit Sammy's Blog.

  • New York
  • Brighton, Ma

Worksite Shocks Passerby and Her Pooch

4/1/09 – Anonymous.  123 West 45th St., (north side) between 6th & 7th Avenue.   Confirmed.  Weather: Light drizzle.

Worksite has been set up for the last couple days working under the street.   My miniature poodle and I walked past them and she started SCREAMING and her little body was everywhere.   I got ahold of her and the shock went through my body as well.   The Superintendent gave me his name.   He acted like nothing happened, although people poured out into the street because Beau Beau's screaming was loud and ongoing.  There were also immediately at lease six police officers on the scene.  I started screaming at the Superintendent asking why the section wasn't roped off.   He said they had gotten a complaint but they didn't know where the hot spot was. 

The cops were horrible as well.  I thought I was watching my dog being electrocuted to death and I screamed for help.  One cop said "What do you want us to do?  We're not vets."  I was stunned at their behavior.  Of course, THEN the Superintendent cordoned off the sidewalk. 

I took Beau Beau to Animal Medical Center at 62nd and York.  She doesn't appear to have internal bleeding and her lungs were clear, but they said to keep an eye on her as they're worried about a pulminary adema.  Beau Beau is obviously in a lot of pain.  The entire situation was HIDEOUS.

Con Edison Investigates Worksite – updated 4/8/09

Con Edison reports that they arrived at the site shortly after the incident was reported, and found stray voltage was present on the Customer's wiring.  Con Edison mitigated the stray voltage, made the area safe and notified the Customer to make permanent repairs.

Dog Shocked on Sidewalk

3/2/09 – Anonymous.  98th and Madison, SW corner.  Unconfirmed.  Weather: Snow on ground.

Saw a St.  Bernard flip over out of nowhere yelp louder than I have ever heard any animal scream before.  The dog began twitching uncontrollably and defecated on itself.  The owner did nothing.  After about a minute of agony, the dog got up and walked away.

Brooklyn Man and His Best Friend Zapped

3/2/09 – Aric Roman, Union St.  (south side) between 6th Ave & 7th Ave.  Confirmed.  Weather: Snow on ground.

Walking west down on the sidewalk.  Suddenly my dog yelps with one step, then jumps up and drops to the ground in fetal position – he was in convulsions yelping as loud as a coyote, and defecating uncontrollably.  This lasted for at least 10 seconds. 

Not knowing what to do, I was rubbing his feet, as it had just snowed heavily, and there was a lot of "salt" on the ground.  He "bit" me the whole time, probably believing I was causing the pain – it didn't work.  In a panic, I picked him up, scraping my hand on the ground, I felt a "tinge in my right arm.  In my arms, his convulsions and agonizing screams finally stopped.  I placed him about 15 feet away, and thankfully he began to revive.  Proceeded to "run" home in a cowering position, and is now a bit timid towards me. 

I now have some burns in my arm pits, a sore shoulder and arm, and continuing headaches.  PLEASE BE CAREFUL!!!!!

Once Bitten Twice Shy – updated 12/1/09

After the incident, my dog never really trusted me again.   Upon entering our Brownstone, he would stay up curled on our bed, only energetic coaxing would bring him to me.   Upon hearing his leash, he would retreat.   None of this occurred with my former fiancé, as she has maintained a great relationship dog.  I had a Spring filled with increasing pain, headaches, GI problems, lack of taste and smell, lack of appetite (which to date I've lost close to 50 pounds). 

I developed and maintain a fairly extreme case of PTSD, I have short term memory problems, a form of retro-grade amnesia, insomnia and an array of Cognitive and Personality disorders.  All this lead to a break up, and subsequent move from the NYC/Brooklyn area .  .  .   Frankly, the city gave me heavy jitters and sometime panic, which I hadn't had before.   

Enter Summer.  I moved to the LA area to heal and put my life back together.  The severe physical/emotional/psychological pain has made it very difficult to obtain and maintain continued employment (I have been a top-tier personal trainer for over 15 years, and now have difficulty with basic exercise).   The money is there to fix it, the bureaucracy and back-room deals have stopped it.

The infrastructure is crumbling, and Obama has given the money to the city, WHERE IS IT?  SOMEONE NEEDS TO BE BROUGHT TO TASK FOR THIS.

Scaffolding Doubly Shocks One Dog - Williamsburg

1/21/2009 – Unconfirmed Report,

A woman was walking her dog beneath a construction scaffolding on Bedford Avenue, (by UVA) in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY, when it suddenly let out a loud yelp and started shaking.  Not knowing what had occurred, she walked her dog along the same route a few hours later, and was surprised to find her dog yelping and shaking at the same location, and immediately realized her dog had been shocked. 

The FDNY determined the scaffolding was 'live' with electrical voltage.  She reports that her dog is doing fine, that the site has been repaired and is now safe.

Another Electric Shock - Village

1/15/2009 – Unconfirmed Report

Yesterday while walking on Broadway and East 4th Street near NYU, I saw a man with a small pitbull approach the corner to cross the street.  His dog immediately started screaming in agony and he bent down to see what was wrong with her.    A crowd gathered but he kept looking at her feet, thinking she had stepped on something.  She continued to scream.  I ran across the street and yelled to him to get his dog away from the corner.  I noticed he was standing right next to a silver light post and the bottom was open and a wire was hanging out.  His dog was being shocked.  There was also a fair amount of salt on the sidewalk near the light post, which I'm sure acted as a conductor. 

After a while, his dog recovered and I told him to walk clear of light posts and the metal grates in the street.  He said he never knew about this.   .  .  .  

The fire department showed up and cordoned off the area and said they would notify DOT.

Rascal Electrocuted by Fire Hydrant in Brighton, Ma.

1/26/2009 – Dan Stevens, Brighton, Ma.  Confirmed.  Weather: Wintery Mix

I was just walking down the street to the 7-11 on the corner of Chestnut Hill Ave and Beacon Street.  I tied my pitbull (Rascal) up on a fire hydrant because the store doesn't let animals in.  Rascal's leash was made of metal, one of those choker collars because he's still young and sometimes needs reinforcement.  Anyway, when I was inside the 7-11 I heard yelping and barking outside.   I ran out and Rascal was lying on the ground twitching, the leash must've conducted a current to his collar. 

That was the last time I got to look into poor Rascal's eyes.

  • New York
  • Mishawaka, In
  • Jersey City, NJ

Poodle Electrocuted on Myrtle Avenue

12/10/2008 – Janet R., saddened Brooklyn resident.   Unconfirmed.  Weather: Cloudy

Hi StreetZaps, I was walking my miniature poodle, Donna down Myrtle Ave., casually.  Donna was leisurely walking as well, perfectly content on this Winter day.  As usual, I let her leash lengthen as to give her more freedom.  She was always such an affable dog, especially when I allowed her to run around Prospect Park.  Needless to say, she grazed up against a light-post, and electrocuted herself.  I will never sleep again.

Protest Stray Voltage

6/8/08 at 11 a.m.  – by the Mushy & Mama Foundation For the Love of Dogs.  Marcus Garvey Park, 120th St.  between Lenox and 5th Ave, South Harlem.

What is human grief in dog years?  On the anniversary of the electrocution of her beloved Mastiff, Mushy, the New York Post reporter, Denise Buffa issued a pivotal statement.  Read Denise's Full Statement

The Only Living Survivor Speaks Out


Phil Vanaria "miraculously survived" a nearly fatal shocking episode in August 1997.  He did nothing more mundane than use a pay phone in the West Village on one muggy summer day.   Read his heart wrenching account of how that horrifying experience altered his life, and his ongoing ordeal in trying to tell his whole story at the New York City Council on Read the Full Story.

Denali Shocked on Sidewalk

1/08 – Bob Ipcar.   16th Street 8th Ave, SW Corner, Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY.   Weather: Unknown.   Confirmed.

Denali, a Spinone Italiano was on his way home from the park when he leaped into the air seemingly for no reason, a behavior way out of character.  Immediately stray voltage was suspected yet there was no apparent injury to his paws.   Annabell, a Great Dane who had been walking next to Denali was unaffected, having apparently just missed the voltage spot.

I called 311.   There was an immediate response from the Fire Dept as well as Con Edison.   Con Ed expressed concern for Denali's welfare and later confirmed the presence of stray voltage that had even electrified the metal areaway fence on the corner house!  Con Edison did a lot of refurbishing of power lines at many local intersections during the course of that winter.

Mother Comments On Thanksgiving Tragedy

11/27/08 – Nichole M.  Baiz, 2997 Heritage Court, Mishawaka, In.   Confirmed.  Weather: Sunny.

My 5 year old son, Izaya Michael Baiz-Hickey was out playing with a neighbor boy when they came across an unlocked transformer box.  My son died instantly after touching something inside of the box.  My son's beautiful body burned until fire fighters could come and extinguish him.  I was unable to have an open casket or even kiss my son goodbye after he passed because his injuries were too severe.  It's a horrible thing to have happen to anyone.

Lamppost Shocks Pinscher

11/5/08 – Anonymous.   Montgomery St.  & Evertrust Plaza, Jersey City, NJ.   Confirmed.  Weather: Cold, Clear.

I was walking my miniature pinscher (10lbs dog) and we were almost home.  She stopped at a pile of leaves in front of a lamppost (without a cover and exposed wires) to do her business.  She jumped back, yelped, and I carried her home.   I saw a mark on her leg which I thought was a cut and so I took her inside to clean it.  I quickly realized it was a burn mark and not a cut.   We monitored her and noticed continuous shaking and blood in her stool, she was lethargic and couldn't eat or drink water. 

We rushed her to the weekend emergency pet hospital where they had to do a full body work up of blood and told us she was in shock.   They gave her subcutaneous fluid and she slowly came back to normal.   It cost us 1K and I had to take a full day off work to monitor her.  It was very scary and we felt like we had no recourse to make sure this doesn't happen to another living being again!

Dog Shocked by Fire Hydrant

9/6/07 – Anonymous.   Confirmed.  Weather: Clear sky

 I was walking on the North side of 44th Street approaching 11th Avenue when my dog got a strong electrical shock as we passed by the fire hydrant about 20 feet West of 11th Avenue.  The hydrant is on the North side of 44th Street.  I found no manhole covers, caps or grates on the sidewalk.  

I notified Con Edison and was pleased that they checked the area, determined the cause of the shock had to do with new electrical wiring beneath the side walk and got the issue resolved in 24 hours.  My dog ended up limping for 4-5 days and is now ok.   I've told everyone with dogs in the neighborhood about it. 

Santitation Worker Shocked by Lamppost

2000 – Anonymous.  Confirmed.  Weather: Raining

I was a sanitation man working up town N.Y.  City about 122 St.  on rainy day wearing rubber boots and gloves, put my hand on the lamppost and pick up a garbage can made of metal.   My gloves were wet inside from sweat, my body was in shock arms and legs.  I could not let go for a few seconds, my lower body hurt for acouple of days.  How much voltage went throw my body .  .  .  am i lucky am alive.