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Dogs Zapped By Stray Voltage In East Village

Atticus Finch was zapped twice by stray voltage on a block in the East Village. It took Con Edison a few days to correct the issue after it was detected. (credit: CBS 2)

Atticus Finch was zapped twice by stray voltage on a block in the East Village. It took Con Edison a few days to correct the issue after it was detected. (credit: CBS 2)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Dog owners in the East Village are on high alert after some neighborhood dogs were shocked by electrified manhole covers.

As CBS 2′s Kathryn Brown reported, a number of dogs were jolted by stray voltage under the sidewalks.

Atticus Finch, a 2-year-old Russian Wolfhound, is more cautious than usual these days after he was struck with an electrical current twice over the weekend.

“We’re walking right by this and my dog gets zapped,” the dog’s owner Alex Poma told Brown.

The first jolt happened on Friday on East 7th Street between Avenues C and D.

“He yelped and jumped and then he was shaking and his heart was beating a mile a minute,” said Poma.

The dog owner thought Atticus had stepped on something, until the dog had a similar reaction Sunday afternoon.

“He got zapped again,” said Poma.

That’s when Poma figured out Atticus was the victim of what’s called contact voltage.

It happens when underground wires get frayed and electricity leaks out. That turns metal and concrete into electricity rods.

Con Edison placed green cones and caution tape at the scene but didn’t indicate a risk of stray current or possible electrocution, said Poma’s wife.

“Everyone in the neighborhood walked by the area for days having no idea why that area was coned and taped,” Leslie Steven told Brown. “So I would propose that Con Ed write on their tape, instead of writing ‘caution’ they should write ‘danger.’”

Con Ed has trucks that patrol the city each night to detect spots of stray voltage and noticed the problem spot early Friday morning, Brown reported.

But the utility said it couldn’t make repairs until late Sunday because of tightly parked cars blocking the way.  It also pointed out that incidents like this have decreased drastically since the patrol was put into place, Brown reported.

A Con Ed spokesperson told CBS 2 the cones and tape are intended to serve as a warning that people should stay out of the area.

But Poma said it’s not enough.

“They need to be also labeled with Con Ed and signage should go up saying your dog may get a shock if it walks through this area,” Poma said.

Poma said at least two other neighborhood dogs were also shocked.

He said Atticus is on anxiety medication but expected to recover.

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