Sunday, December 28, 2014

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Pet Owners Worry After Dog Shocked by Stray Voltage on TriBeCa Sidewalk

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TWC News: Pet Owners Worry After Dog Shocked by Stray Voltage on TriBeCa Sidewalk
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In the past few days, at least two dogs may have been shocked on city streets, leaving pet owners and pedestrians worried. NY1's Lindsey Christ filed the following report.

Strolling along a TriBeCa sidewalk Tuesday, some dogs passed the spot where another dog suffered from an electric shock a few hours before. The pet apparently survived, but Con Edison confirmed that the sidewalk grate had been emitting 30 volts of electricity.

"We cut it. We made it safe," said Michael Clendenin of Con Edison.

It may have been the second incident within 48 hours. A dog in the East Village died Saturday night after what appeared to be an electric shock, according to witnesses who called Con Ed.

"They looked at a scaffolding, which also didn't seem, was not energized, but the wiring was faulty. It looked frayed and in poor condition. So our crews cut it, capped it, made it safe," Clendenin said.

There's often an uptick of these incidents around this time of year. Salt used for de-icing mixes with water, which then eats away at underground wires.

It can make pathways electric, especially metal grates and manhole covers, a hazard that many dog owners say they're well aware of.

"I just avoid anything that is metal," said one dog owner.

That isn't always enough, though. Just ask the owners of Atticus Finch, who was shocked twice in December.

"We didn't know what it was. We thought he stepped on glass. And then on Sunday morning, I decided to walk by again, being cautious as I walked down this sidewalk, not on any metal areas, and it happened again," said dog owner Alex Poma.

Con Ed had put up green cones, but Poma said that nobody knew what they were being warned about.

In general, Con Ed said that the number of these incidents has decreased significantly in recent years, thanks to new policies and procedures put in place in 2004 after a woman was killed by an electrified metal plate in the East Village. Now, trucks roam city streets every night with sensors that can detect stray voltage.

"We have actually brought down the number of incidents we get every year by about 90 percent. It's been a huge falloff, and the thing is, it's really made the streets, by and large, very safe. It does not mean that you're not still going to have incidents from time to time," Clendenin said.

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