Sammy’s Safety Tips! Hidden Danger: Keep Your Pet Safe from Electric Shock/Other Hazards

Winter’s chill may have settled in your neighborhood, but your energetic pooch still wants to go for walks in the great outdoors. Take it slow and steady, pet parents. According to our experts, the danger of contact voltage on city streets can turn a simple stroll into a devastating event for our furry friends.

Most common in northern climes and urban areas, contact voltage occurs when dormant utilities leak excess electricity. Combined with wet streets and salt-based ice melts, this current can shock, injure or even prove fatal for those in its path. “Since salt used to treat icy streets is a great conductor of electricity,” says Dr. Louise Murray, ASPCA Director of Medicine and author of Vet Confidential, “the risk of shock from contact voltage is that much higher during the winter months.” The ASPCA offers the following tips to help you avoid potentially hazardous areas, and advice on what to do if your pet has suffered an electrical shock:

Keep your dog away from metal fixtures, such as lampposts, grates or manhole covers. While these spots may be your pet’s favorite place to relieve himself, they may also conduct hazardous electricity.
Your dog’s snazzy, rubber rain boots may look good, but they won’t protect your pooch from a strong current. Don’t depend on them to keep your pet safe. Some boots—those with metal studs, for example—may even make the situation worse.

**If you have been shocked, immediately call 911.

~If possible, walk your dogs in greener areas such as Discovery Park, dog parks, Cougar Mtn, etc., were among Sammy’s favorite places to hike and play.

~Avoid construction sites, areas– Do not walk in areas where there is construction taking place, bypass them at all times if you can, our pups not only don’t like the noise in these areas, but many potential hazards and dangers exist, many of which are hidden.

~Avoid contact with open or damaged streetlight bases, especially if you see exposed wires.
~Avoid salted areas, as salt is a great conductor for electricity
~Avoid standing water
~Wear shoes with rubber soles
~As stated earlier, restrain your dog, keep him from peeing on lamp posts, any metal fixtures..this includes, yes, fire hydrants, mail boxes, (if they are charged or energized, they can shock and kill your pet!) keep it to bushes only please!

~Avoid using a metallic leash for your dog, fabric is far safer
~Take a cue from your animal – if he or she is avoiding grates or manhole covers or certain areas of a sidewalk, they may be aware of something that you cannot sense
~Go to dog parks or other green areas where there is less high powered equipment and less likelihood of contact or stray voltage
~Help to educate others about the dangers of contact or stray voltage.

Observe your dog’s behavior. Is he skittish, frightened, angry or upset for no apparent reason? These sudden behavioral changes could be an indication of electric shock.
If your dog is incapacitated due to shock, don’t try to touch or move him without protective gear. Your pooch may pass the current to you, rendering you both incapable of seeking help. Instead, call your local fire department immediately.
Know of an area in your neighborhood that could be affected by contact voltage? Contact the proper authorities. For more information about keeping your pet safe during the winter months, visit:
2010 ASPCA

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8 Responses to Sammy’s Safety Tips! Hidden Danger: Keep Your Pet Safe from Electric Shock/Other Hazards

  1. Colorado Hound Lover says:

    Lisa, I am so sorry you lost your dear friend Sammy so prematurely and in such a traumatic way. I read about your tragedy in a Colorado newspaper, and wanted you to know that a similar event happened this fall in Denver.
    Just know although I am more than 1,000 miles away, I was so sad to read of your horrible experience. Sammy is at peace now, but it will take time for you to grieve how he died, and how you miss him. I hope you can find comfort and justice during this difficult time.

    • Hi there, thanks so much for your sweet thoughts, Sam was truly the best, I miss him so much. He was my best friend. Thanks for sharing the article of what happened in Denver, so so sad, I am hearing more and more of these types of cases, wish I knew more about dogs and electrocution before Sammy died, I had never heard of anything like this, now it’s Sammy and my mission to make it known so that people can be safe and keep their best buddies safe. Thanks again for reaching out to me. Take care, peace, Lisa

      • Colorado Hound Lover says:

        Lisa, I read the information you shared in your blog, and I think it’s great what you’re doing to help the rest of us. Although Sammy’s death was a tragedy, it will not be in vain. You’ve already taught me about what to watch out for when I walk with my best friend. None of us would want to lose our friends to this. Thanks for using this opportunity to help a lot of dogs — you’re inspirational.

        p.s. Sammy is so handsome! I love his face in the newspaper photo — clearly loved and loving.

  2. Russ Campbell, NWEBS says:

    Please let me express my heartfelt sympathy to you and your family in dealing with the tragic loss of your friend, Sammy. Our animal compatriots are so important in our lives and such a sudden traumatic loss can be so life changing. Please find solace in memory of him at his best and in good times. Be well.

    This fall we had a great club presentation by Adam Karp, a lawyer that specializes in animal law issues. For whatever purposes or end, you need appropriate legal representation to protect yourself and Sammy’s rights and I would urge you to consider a conversation with Mr. Karp as part of that process.

    Russ Campbell, President
    Northwest Exotic Bird Society

    • Thank you very much for your warm and sweet thoughts. Sam was truly the best, I love and miss forever. I do have counsel for Sammy and he is Adam Karp, so thank you.
      I don’t want this type of tragedy to happen ever again, not to a human, child or animal. Thank you~peace~Lisa

  3. kim says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. This is a terrible way to lose a dog you love.

  4. Amy says:

    Lisa – I can’t even begin to express how sorry I am about the loss of Sammy. However, I am thankful for you not letting this tragedy fly under the radar. I had no idea about this problem, but I am spreading the word. Have you seen this website? I came across it when trying to read more. You may be interested in getting in touch with them, I think together you could have a very powerful movement for safer streets for everyone.

  5. Rachel H says:

    Hi –

    I’m sorry to hear of your loss.

    I want to let you know that you need to request the drawings from City Light for that installation. Any and all drawings, both in house or from contractors.

    You need to see who signed off on the drawings as engineer, and whether the installation was to spec, and as drawn. You can eMail me if you like.


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