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Dogs, ice and electricity: City says Queen Anne pet death a freak event

Seattle’s march to big city status continues. The most recent qualifier? Tragic pet electrocution death blamed on city utilities. Though it happened off-Hill, this Queen Anne dog’s Thanksgiving day electrocution might be on the mind of a few Capitol Hill pet owners as they walk their dog through our heavily wired urban landscape:

He was walking along QA Ave, near Bricco, my daughter stepped aside to let another dog pass, and moved onto the electric plate near a lamp post.  


He started screaming and went into convulsions, and died.  We took him to the emergency hospital, where they gave him CPR for 30 minutes, to no avail.  Seattle PD cordoned off the street, and Seattle City Light cut power to the block to investigate.

Image: http://www.slipnot.com/pull-box-covers

Seattle City Light’s communications director Suzanne Hartman tells CHS the investigation into the tragic death of Sammy continues but that her department has determined that a problem with a low voltage SCL circuit in a nearby utility pole was to blame. “This is a not a stray voltage problem like on the East Coast,” Hartman said referring to the decay or mis-installation of wiring systems that has been blamed in a 2004 East Village death and many other NYC and BOS area incidents. The only difference, though, appears to be a matter of volts — Hartman said the Queen Anne incident involved voltage of below 120v.

Hartman said City Light crews inspected the streets around the site of the electrocution and found no other danger points. “Something happened,” Hartman said. “We hope to have something out to the media soon.”

One thing that happened was snow and slush. Add a dog on a walk and you have the recipe for several of the East Coast incidents. In a La Niña winter, maybe Capitol Hill will feel even more like NYC — watch where you step, doggy.

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Tom
Tom
10 years ago

for that reason. I remember reading stories of this happening. I remember stories from years back of it happening here too, but I can guarantee you’ll never find one now.

You can’t trust City Light to inspect its system. If they had the manpower to do it, you still couldn’t trust them to do it. You just need to take a bit of caution yourself.

So sorry for the woman’s loss. SCL needs to step up and do something for her.

Ella
Ella
10 years ago

This is truly tragic. I will certianly watch out for these on all future walks. With so many dogs in this city this is something that I hope gets out on all media outlets Freak accident or not. My heart hurts for this families loss. :(

amos
amos
10 years ago

eek. how do you recognize these things. do they always look like the one pictured above? i don’t trust the low voltage excuse either.

Tom
Tom
10 years ago

Actually, water stuff has Water or CWM sorts of markings… there’s generally a SCL on the lighting boxes or similar markings. I also tend to avoid unmarked ones if possible too.

It’s hard to completely avoid access panels in the sidewalk. You just have to rely on a certain amount of faith that nothing bad will happen when you walk on them.