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Any metal or electrical street fixture may present a potential electric shock hazard if the street itself or its above-ground electrical equipment is damaged. (Photo by Janell Granier)

Any metal or electrical street fixture may present a potential electric shock hazard if the street itself or its above-ground electrical equipment is damaged.

Photo by Janell Granier

Stray Voltage Danger

by Blair Sorrel, StreetZaps

The Risk of Shock

Contact (or "stray") voltage from common outdoor electrical and metal fixtures poses a chronic, hidden hazard that can cause injury or death to unsuspecting pedestrians, dog walkers, and their pets. No dog lover could possibly observe a more horrifying scene than witnessing his or her beloved pet instantaneously maimed or tragically electrocuted. And depending upon the current, the walker may be bitten and, like poor Aric Roman, suffer permanently.

Any metal or electrical street fixture may present a potential electric shock hazard if the street itself or its above-ground electrical equipment is damaged. A fixture may still be pernicious in spite of appearing visibly intact or, in the case of lights, unilluminated.

Shockings can occur year-round under any weather conditions, but evidence indicates that the most hazardous time is in the winter after snow falls and in the summer after heavy rains. The winter incidents are likely when melted snow mixed with salt-based deicers form a saline solution and conduction path from defective or tampered cables and equipment, usually several days after the snowfall. Summer events usually happen when rainwater pools around and infiltrates damaged or defective equipment.

Eyeball the Block and Avoid a Shock

When you exercise your pooch, please exercise greater prudence. Just start to adopt this simple strategy: Eyeball the block and avoid the shock.

Take a few seconds and make your trajectory toward generally safer, free-standing, non-conductive surfaces (i.e., plastic, wood, cardboard). Intuit your dog's cues and if he or she is resistant, change directions. Worksite perimeters may be live, so try to avoid them. If necessary, switch sides of the street or change hands when leading to skirt hazards. If you traverse the same route regularly, memorize locations of potential danger. Carry your pooch when in doubt. Consider indoor restroom products like Potty Park when external conditions are chancy, or the Rope-n-Go hardware-free leash and harness. And don't rely on dog booties as a palliative, as they can leak.

A safer walk is yours year-round if you are willing to open to your eyes and mind to it. To learn to more, please visit StreetZaps.

Learn More

StreetZaps

New York City Hot Spots

by StreetZaps

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Sidewalk Shock in the Summertime?

by New York Tails

Stray Voltage Media Coverage

Dog dies after being electrocuted by wire on Lower East Side

by Natalie Musumeci and Thomas Tracy, New York Daily News

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Dogs getting zapped by Con Ed manholes

by Sean Piccoli, New York Post

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Family pet electrocuted in Outremont

by Catherine Solyom, The Gazette

Friday, January 20, 2012

Stray Voltage Can Electrocute Dogs During Walks

by Leigh Peterson, Cuyahoga Falls Patch

Monday, May 23, 2011

Pole checked after dog zapped

by Andrew Wolfe, The Telegraph

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Electrified Street Results should not be ignored says Owner of Canadian electrocuted dog

Press Release by Rachel Sentes

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Puppy electrocuted during dog walk

by Laura Clarizio, Examiner.com

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Extreme cold should give Staten Island dog-owners pause

bu Deborah E. Young, Staten Island Advance

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Stray Voltage: The Unseen Threat for Dogs & People

by Michael D. Mullins, The New York Companion

January 2010

Website Warns Of Stray Voltage

by WPIX News

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Avoid Shock on Your Block

by Diane West, New York Tails

Friday, January 16, 2009

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Second Dog Electrocuted In Lower Manhattan In As Many Days

by NY1 News

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

DOT To Outfit Streetlights With LED Detectors

by NY1 News

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Father Of Electrocution Victim Says Stray Voltage Still A Problem

by NY1 News

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Dog Recovering In Manhattan Following Electrical Shock

by NY1 News

Monday, December 14, 2007

Dog in SoHo hit with 100-volt jolt

by Christina Boyle and Dave Goldiner, New York Daily News

Thursday, August 30, 2007

A Moment of Stray Voltage, and a Life Upended

by Jim Dwyer, The New York Times

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Con Ed Horror: "My Dog Killed by Shock Box"

by Denise Buffa, New York Post

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Con Ed Hiring Livery Cab Drivers To Guard High-Voltage Areas

by NY1 News

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Con Ed pays 'em to sit on grates: Livery drivers making a bundle to guard dangerous city hot spots

by Jimmy Vielkind, New York Daily News

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Dog Dies on a Downtown Sidewalk, Possibly Electrocuted

by Anthony Ramirez and Emily Vasquez, The New York Times

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Second Dog Electrocuted In Lower Manhattan In As Many Days

by NY1 News

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Dog electrocuted?: Con Ed says no stray voltage was around during pet's death

by ABC7 Eyewitness News, WABC-TV

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Con Ed Finds 1,214 Stray Voltage Sites in One Year

by Sewell Chan, The New York Times

Saturday, March 4, 2006

Avoid Winter Shock on Your Block

by Diane West, New York Tails

Winter 2005–2006

Take Action

Report A Shock/Hot Spot or Tampered Equipment

by StreetZaps

Petition: Stop Stray Voltage Electrocutions in New York City

Petition by Friends of Barkis