And the electric company doesn't give two hoots about any of this!!!
Here's columnist Michael Daly additional information on the subject of sidewalk electrocutions (from the Sunday NY Daily News of 18 January, 2004). http://www.nydailynews.com/front/story/156036p-137072c.html
It's a jolt when tragedy
By Michael Daly
Twenty-seven years have passed since Nancy Whitehead walked with her 2-year-old daughter and the family's new husky down a slushy stretch of Convent Ave. Whitehead suddenly felt a tingling through her Frye boots. The dog that was her daughter's second birthday present howled and broke away, its hair on end.
"The dog rolled over and died," Whitehead recalled yesterday of the January 1977 incident. "Fortunately, my daughter was in my arms."
Later, somebody touched a light bulb to the pavement. The bulb lit up considerably brighter than the dim ones over at Con Ed.
"It is highly questionable that the sidewalk was responsible for the dog's death," a utility spokesman said at the time, although "some voltage" had been recorded and a feeder cable was found to have been corroded "by melting ice, snow and salt."
A year later, a German shepherd suffered a similar fate on Neptune Ave. in Brooklyn. Con Ed paid the burial expenses, but it was still just a dog.
Con Ed had neither issued a public alert nor posted warning signs in December of 1989, when Charlotte Chorot-Bernard walked her terrier over a snow-dusted manhole cover on St. Nicholas Place uptown.
"He went straight up in the air," Chorot-Bernard recalled yesterday. "He did it twice."
Chorot-Bernard felt two jolts through the metal leash. The dog lay dead when Con Ed arrived.
"In the beginning, Con Ed said it wasn't their manhole," Chorot-Bernard remembered.
The cops and firefighters pointed out a certain detail.
"On the manhole it says 'Consolidated Edison,'" Chorot-Bernard said.
But, again it was just a dog. Con Ed assured Chorot-Bernard she herself had been in no danger.
"They were saying it could never happen to a human being because we have on shoes," she recalled.
Two weeks later, Chorot-Bernard got a call from a woman on Central Park West whose dog had also been electrocuted. Chorot-Bernard was somehow not greatly comforted by Con Ed's assurances that humans were in no danger. She went about a city where signs routinely warn of wet paint and slippery floors, but never manholes that might be electrified.
"That drove me crazy for years, making sure not to walk on manholes," she said. "You have to watch every manhole."
Two years later, a carriage horse was electrocuted by stepping on a sodden Con Ed service box on E. 59th St. A witness remarked that a shock able to kill an animal that big could also kill a human. Con Ed suggested the horse's metal shoes made it particularly vulnerable.
The owner and the driver filed suit, charging that Con Ed permitted its cables to "become and remain in a broken, frayed, defective and dangerous condition ... so that electricity was allowed to escape and electrify the public roadway."
Con Ed settled with both parties, but continued to shrug off the danger. At least three more dogs had been fatally jolted by late December of 2000, when Stewart Lerman was walking his mixed breed on a snowy stretch of W. 13th St.
"She all of a sudden went out of her mind," Lerman recalled yesterday. "She was frothing at the mouth. She kept biting her own tail and chasing herself in a circle. She couldn't stop until I jumped on her and threw her in a snow embankment."
In the frenzy, the otherwise gentle dog bit Lerman in the face and he ended up at St. Vincent's Medical Center in Manhattan. His wife arrived and informed him of something that had escaped his notice as he turned down W. 13th St.
"She said somebody [had] put up a handwritten sign saying 'Beware of Electricity,'" Lerman recalled.
Not even a handwritten sign was on the block of E. 11th St. where Jodi Lane walked her two dogs on Friday. The dogs suddenly went as berserk as Lerman's had three years before.
Lane tried to intervene in this double frenzy and fell, losing that insulating protection of footwear that Con Ed insisted made humans safe. She was subjected to the same voltage that had been proven literally enough to kill a horse.
The news reached Lerman when his brother telephoned yesterday morning.
"He said, 'You're not going to believe it,'" Lerman recalled. "He was calling to say, 'See, it happened again.'"
Only this time, somebody had died.
"What a way to go," Lerman said. "This has got to stop."
Originally published on January 18, 2004