Dog shocked, nearly killed by faulty Mountlake Terrace light pole

By Katie Murdoch, For The Herald

MOUNTLAKE TERRACE — A man performed CPR on his dog about a week ago after the pooch was nearly killed by an electric shock after sniffing a city light pole.

The dog survived, but the city checked nearby poles to see if any others have the same issue. It’s similar to a problem in 2010, when a dog was electrocuted in Seattle while walking on an electrically charged power plate in a sidewalk.

The incident here was disturbing and the city is treating it seriously, said Curt Brees, the city’s Public Works director.

“We have no reason to believe there is a danger in the city,” Brees said.

The man was walking his dog Jan. 6 in the 4700 block of 240th Street SW when the accident occurred, according to the police department. He called police, and crews from Public Works and the Snohomish County Public Utility District arrived to disconnect power to the aluminum light pole.

The shock was caused by a grounding wire feeding power to the pole.

“We’re investigating how it came to be, but basically it was a wiring error,” Brees said.

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, Brees said.

City officials are considering a testing program to catch such errors.

It’s unclear if anyone worked on the pole after it was installed, which could have led to the error, said Neil Neroutsos, a PUD spokesman.

“We’re focused on the issue and resolving it,” he said.

The man’s wife, contacted by phone, said neither she nor her husband wanted to talk about what happened to their dog.

The incident prompted city and PUD officials to test 16 light poles in the area. They didn’t find hazards, Neurostos said.

PUD staff have inspected more than 1,000 steel and concrete poles in their service area within the past 18 months in search of unusual voltage.

“There were very few minor problems,” Neroutsos said.

After the Seattle dog was electrocuted, Seattle City Light identified 158 light poles with potentially dangerous wiring problems, according to The Associated Press.


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