Blair Sorrel of StreetZaps.com (site no longer active) contacted me to let me know about a threat that most of us may not even realize is all around us. We take for granted the comforts that electricity provides us without giving much thought to how that electricity is delivered to every corner of our lives, how many miles of electrical cables surround us and how a deteriorating infrastructure can jeopardize our safety through "electrical leakage".
The following information has been provided by Blair in the hopes that raising awareness about this issue will help protect you, your family and your pets from suffering what could be a dangerous or even fatal electrical shock.
Lamppost poles and their compartments are a possible source of electrical shock as thieves and vandals can easily access the electrical connections at their base. Pedestrians should be aware that an ajar or missing panel or one with a protuberant plug constitute significant warnings of tampering/risk. When the photo cell is damaged internally, a lamppost compartment can leak voltage ... whether or NOT it is illuminated, even when appearing to be fully intact.
Metal on the street or sidewalk can be electrified if deteriorated or improperly installed. Shoddy construction and maintenance can cause the building metal access to become energized if the internal wiring is faulty, poorly maintained, or not in general compliance with building codes. Renovation and ongoing construction sites utilizing temporary wiring can create a higher possibility for a shocking incident.
Ubiquitous metal plates on the streets and sidewalks with decaying wiring may jolt the passerby. Rampant power pilferage, vandalism, wayward construction, or vehicular accidents can leave enlivened areas in their wake.
While lovely to look at, decorative lighting may over time pose a risk to pedestrians and their pets since its insulation can decay from long-term exposure to temperature change, weather, and even tropical sun.
While it is complicit that proprietors install only outdoor service lighting according to manufacturers' instructions, it behooves businesses to inspect sporadically their lights to determine whether their wiring has become deteriorated; that replacement lamps are truly secure in their sockets; and that all sockets, plugs, and other connectors are sufficiently insulated against immersion from rain or snow to safeguard against shock hazards to the general public.
Dog booties are NO PROTECTION FROM VOLTAGE LEAKAGE and can actually INCREASE THE CHANCE OF A SHOCKING if water-logged.
At present, the material they are made from shields against cold, moisture, and rock salt, but does not insulate against electricity and when saturated creates an even greater hazard.
A person can complain of leaky boots, a dog can't!
Booties that protect against voltage are still a 'concept' rather than a practical option. Any 'safe' product will require much research and development before they can insulate any dog. Even electrical workers conduct periodic checks of their gloves and clothing to ensure safety and even more so with dog booties because the wearer relies on the purchaser's judgment.
Additionally, although some rescuers recommend Musher's Wax, which is readily available and easy to apply, it will not protect against contact voltage either.
"I have a female dog."
Wet weather can produce a hazard for any pooch, however, male dogs may be particularly at risk when they lift their leg to spray the metal bases of lampposts or other upright electrical street fixtures creating a ready conduction path for stray current. But that doesn't mean female dogs are completely safe.
A far safer option is always to avoid outdoor electrical equipment including plates and manholes on streets and sidewalks when possible since if deteriorated all may leak voltage. The greatest risk to your dog typically occurs when leakage and moisture are concomittant.
"I wear rubber-soled shoes."
All footwear provides some insulation but none guarantees protection; open-toed shoes and sandals provide the least safety.
Special thanks to Blair Sorrel of StreetZaps.com (site no longer active) who has kindly given us permission to reprint this article here.
For more information about Aussie health issues see the Australian Shepherd Health & Genetics Institute (ASHGI).
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