Washington

On Thanksgiving 2010 a Shorthaired German Pointer – Sammy – was electrocuted on a Seattle sidewalk. Late this spring, the city, which owns the local utility company City Lights, paid $11,000 to the dog’s two owners and agreed to post warnings concerning contact voltage on the city’s web site. The death prompted immediate inspection of some 37,000 ground covers and light poles.

In Sammy’s death improper grounding by a private contractor was to blame; a total of 67 faults were found and repaired but despite this massive effort to curb shock hazards, only 6 months later, in April 2011, more energized poles were found. Ironically, a woman reported something amiss when her own dog would not stop barking one of a series of poles that had been installed improperly. Reactive inspections may not be adequate for maximum detection rates. In recognition of this fact the city and City Lights has issued a RFP to bid out annual scanning for the next five years.

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