City of Mountlake Terrace: Contact Voltage Testing Saves Lives!

I just received this comment from a viewer and would like to share it here.  Coincidentally, when I received this comment, I, too, had been crying…..missing my beloved dog Sam.

“Hi, Lisa, I’m crying again for your loss as I leave this message.  Thank you for your work to get Seattle City Light to do yearly testing.  Sammy is proud. Looks like Snohomish PUD is trying to dodge the issue now.  That would be my well informed and angry comment here”.

Yesterday I had heard about another electric shock incident involving a dog in a nearby Seattle town, Mountlake Terrace.  As I learned of this news, I became outraged, sick to my stomach, tears in my eyes, it was too familar…. almost as if I were re-living a part of a similar and horrible experience just over one year ago.

First, my heart goes out to the owners and their dog.  I am very sorry to hear of this and thank god that the owner and dog survived. I hope they are all doing all right from this horrific experience.

The responses from the city and PUD, “The pole was installed in 2004 by the PUD and is owned and operated by the city. Sometimes when different agencies play a role in installing and operating a light pole, errors occur.  It’s unclear if anyone worked on the pole after it was installed, which could have led to the error” are completely and totally unacceptable to me.  This is another example of a government-run utility company  passing the buck,  not accepting responsibility, lack of proper record keeping and making excuses for their “errors”.  Don’t they understand that these “errors” could be fatal, pose serious danger to the public?  The article goes on to say that city officials are “considering” contact voltage testing program. What’s to consider?  Is it going to take a death, perhaps a child, adult, someone’s beloved pet for them to realize the seriousness of this issue and take appropriate action to prevent such tragedies?  Contact voltage kills! Shouldn’t their number one goal be public safety?  The answer is YES.  They must invest in public street light safety by implementing a routine testing program and have proper safety procedures in place at all times.  This also includes working with other agencies, any and all work must be inspected, documented, and checked properly and regularly to ensure the public is SAFE.  Take it from me and learn from the City of Seattle–regular contact voltage testing saves lives!

R.I.P my Sammy, I miss and love you so much.  We continue to fight for street light safety.

To read the article from The Herald go to this link:

http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20120116/NEWS01/701169917

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7 Responses to City of Mountlake Terrace: Contact Voltage Testing Saves Lives!

  1. Debbie Posky says:

    I know every time there is a new stray voltage story, you relive what happened to your beloved Sammy….and that just breaks my heart. R.I.P. sweet boy….you will never be forgotten. Run free at the Bridge….

  2. Kelly Downs says:

    My dog Lily died at 11:20pm on January 17th 2012 at the corner of Villeneuve and Cote St Catherine in Outremont Quebec. She was electrocuted by a lamp post. I saw her die in front of my eyes and I do not know what was happening to her, i just started screaming “Lily what’s wrong”.
    Lily came to us as a foster dog and we were only supposed to keep her for a month but she hurt her leg and the adoptive family no longer wanted her because she was damaged. My boyfriend of 6 years and I as well as the loving people at Clinic Liesse animal hospital nursed her back to health and although we were not supposed to keep her we could not help but imagine our lives without her.
    My boyfriend would call her my shadow because she would follow me wherever I went. She was the most affectionate and trusting dog that I have ever known. I looked forward to coming home every day to her happy face and wagging tail. I don’t know how to live without her, without my shadow.
    She was doing so well, her leg was healed and we were on our walk, we were walking on the sidewalk and she started to yelp and cry. I checked her leg, nothing was wrong, she was screaming at me to help her but i didn’t know what was happening. I tried to pick her up but she would not let me. She stated to bite me who and then fell to the ground and then she started to bite the clasp on her leach and bleed from the mouth.
    I was screaming for help, desperately needing someone to be with me and help me understand what was going on. A woman came running over in her PJ’s and her husband, she took me in her arms. I just keeper on screaming, “I don’t know what happen, I don’t know whats wrong”. Someone else came with their car and offered me a phone to call some one because I was only going for a short walk with my dog and only brought my keys, I could not remember anyones number. I could not think. The took me to my apartment and told me that Lily had died. She probably died right in front of me but I just could not believe it. The people that heled me also said their dog had an attack in the same are just 20 minutes before, but their dog survived.
    After calling four different people from the city they finally told me that they had “fixed” the problem but it is a little late, at least for Lily. I’m not even sure if it is actually fixed because when my boyfriend went to the lamp post yesterday they had only duct taped the bottom. I asked how this could be prevented and there was “no comment”.

    How can this happen?

    Kelly Downs

    I’m sorry for any spelling or grammar mistakes but I can’t read it over, it hurt’s to much.

    • Dear Kelly,
      As I write this, I am almost at a loss for words. First, I can’t tell you enough how very sorry I am about Lily. I send my deepest deepest heartfelt condolences to you and your boyfriend. I sit here, thinking of you and Lily. I know exactly what you’re going through, the actual experience you had with Lily is identical to what I went through with Sam. Lily is Sam..Kelly is me… I, too, watched him as he died in my arms, not knowing what the hell was happening to him. Like you, I could only scream for help, wondering what was happening to him, perhaps he stepped on something sharp that hurt his paw as he “danced” around the light pole and metal plate, screeching in pain. Then watching him collapse, he too, bit me, my thumb through my mitten, poor sweet boy was in agony, and I could do nothing to save him. I tried, but it was too late. I had no idea he had been electrocuted until I stuck my hand in his mouth and felt the electricity running through his body.

      You ask, “how can this happen?” Well, it’s a combination of things. I’m not sure how much you’ve read of my blog, I know you just lost Lily and it’s so painful and difficult and I’m sure you have lots of questions and want answers. I was the same way when Sam died Nov. 25th, 2010. I wanted to know WHY and HOW such a thing could happen. In our case, it was pure negligence on the utility company’s part, they had several entities involved in the installation of the light pole, finger-pointing went back and forth, then finally, Seattle City Light admitted fault and that contact/stray voltage killed Sam. Initially, Seattle City Light thought I was crazy to say stray voltage killed my dog, they INSISTED Sam’s death was an “isolated incident”. I didn’t believe this, I wanted to know what happened and wanted answers…and I got them. I got them from a wonderful man named Roger Lane. He passed away in Dec. 2010, shortly after Sam was killed. Sadly and tragically, his daughter Jodie Lane was electrocuted while walking her two dogs in NYC in 2004. Mr. Lane started a foundation in his daughter’s name, please check out http://www.strayvoltagenyc.org. He had written me when Sam was killed, referring me to his website so that I could learn of this deadly hazard and so I became a little educated on contact/stray voltage and went to the local news about it. I am still learning about this hazard, there’s a lot to know, I am not an electrician, but I do like to do advocacy on this issue and bring awareness to keep people and their furkids safe. I believe Seattle City Light got a lot of pressure from the public, they decided to do testing after Sam was killed and found numerous problems in the city, but repaired them and is now doing annual contact voltage inspections. It is a good thing, not sure if annually is enough, from what I learned, it seems it should be monitored and checked more often, but I suppose it’s better than nothing.

      I know and understand your pain….I know your loss..I am so sorry you are having to go through this…we shouldn’t have to, utility companies need to place a higher importance on public safety when it comes to street light safety maintenance and inspections. Utility companies need to have routine contact voltage testing. It is the only effective method to keep streets and sidewalks safe for the public. I know the city of Toronto had problems with dogs being shocked and electrocuted and Toronto Hydro stepped up and did something about it. They implemented a routine contact voltage testing program and have included a contact voltage safety page on their website. The weather can play a big part as well, water,snow, ice, salt (with snowy conditons, salt on streets/sidewalks), are all a conductor for electricity. Sam was killed during a snowstorm. There was salt, ice, snow all over the sidewalk where we walked. This could’ve activated the area of the light pole that had faulty wiring and shoddy workmanship, resulting in his death.

      Sammy’s one year anniversary was Nov. 25th 2011, I had to leave Seattle, I could not bare to be in that city during that time, too many horrible memories of that awful day. To this day, I still cry, I still wonder and torcher myself with..shoulda…coulda, woulda, “if I had only”….but, I realize I can’t torcher myself over his death. It was tragic and it wasn’t my fault. That was the hardest thing for me, it was the utilty company’s fault, they did not do their job! I will always remember that day, we went out for a walk, best buddies on Thanksgiving Day, we left after brunch, we were so happy. It all ended… I did not come home with my Sam. I understand now that if it didn’t happen to Sam it was going to happen to someone…a child..an adult, another dog, that damn light pole was a ticking time bomb. Sam, my angel and a true hero of Seattle… because of him, many are now informed and aware of how to keep safe when walking on streets and sidewalks. Everyday is hard, I get up, I say hello to Sammy and wish that he was still here and tell him how much I love him…then I go about my day and treasure and remember all of the wonderful times we shared together. I won’t lie, it still hurts, 14 months later.

      It’s not easy, it sucks, I hate that he’s gone and that he was taken away so young and too soon. I miss him so much, I will love him forever, he was my soul mate, but WE (you and I) will get through this, it will take TIME. I feel time has helped me some, but I just take one day at a time. I wish this never happened to you and Lily…you and I have connected here, which means Lily and Sam have already connected…I send you a great big hug. If you ever need to talk, you can write my personal email address @ iluvlucy1999@hotmail.com (Lucy is my almost 13 yr old dog, she loved Sam so much too. Sam was only 6 1/2 when he died).

      Lily, rest in peace my dear…you and Sam are in a safer place now. Peace.

      Thank you so much for writing me, I am going to look online for the news on Lily. I’d like to write about her on my blog. Would it be all right if I included your comment to me on my blog too? I really think it’s important to share your feelings and experience with others. Also, if you wouldn’t mind, could you send me your home address? I’d like to send a little something to you.
      All my best to you Kelly~Lisa and Sam

    • Dear Kelly,
      Just writing again, I tried to search for the news on Lily’s death..have you shared this with the news? If not, you need to. All my best, Lisa

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