Dogs in New York Have Been Shocked by Stray Voltage in Dangerous Phenomenon That’s Killed at Least 1 Pup

Stray or contact voltage can occur due to a combination of old wires and weather conditions. Snow, water and salt can seep into electrical wires under the sidewalk. People are less likely to get shocked because they wear shoes. But dogs are vulnerable.

Imagine taking your dog for a walk, only to have your four-legged best friend writhe in pain and yelp for help. It’s what some dog owners—and their dogs—on the Upper West Side in New York have experienced, they told Inside Edition.

"We were walking our dog down the street, he let out a very large yelp and then he started prancing like he was on hot lava,” Sara Lebwohl said.

Her Australian labradoodle, Prince, had encountered an invisible electrical current known as stray or contact voltage.

So, too, did Daniela Berman’s dog when the pair were out for a walk.  

"At first, I thought she might have stepped on a piece of glass or something,” she told Inside Edition.

Benjamin Maltz said he saw it happening so often outside his Manhattan office that he began filming.

“We wanted to document this so we came out here and as people were walking we'd sort of follow behind them and we took out the phone and we were filming them and always as the dogs would get to a specific spot,” Maltz said. "They would yelp, they would cry, they would jump up some of them on their hind legs."

Some dogs do not survive being shocked in such a manner.

Lida Bilokur has been devastated ever since her emotional support dog Lala was killed earlier this month by the phenomenon.

“She stepped on a metal plate, which immediately electrocuted her, and she had a seizure, a heart attack and died within minutes,” Bilokur said.

To investigate what is happening, Inside Edition hit the streets with master electrician Tony Giovannetti.

“It's a combination of the old wires and then the weather conditions,” he said.

Giovannetti said the snow, water and salt can seep into the electrical wires under the sidewalk. People are less likely to get shocked because they wear shoes. But dogs, with their raw paws, are vulnerable.

Now, dog owners, like Biloker, are speaking out to warn others about this hidden danger.

"I still can't believe that she's not here,” Biloker said.

In a statement to Inside Edition, Con Edison, the power company for most of NYC, said that shock incidents have dropped 90% since 2004. They also said that they repair any problems when substantiated, adding that the incident that killed Bilokur’s dog Lala did not involve their equipment.

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