Stray voltage kills dog walking on downtown Spokane sidewalk

Stray voltage kills dog walking on downtown Spokane sidewalk
Copyright 4 News Now

A Spokane man is warning other dog owners and businesses about the dangers of aging heated sidewalk infrastructure after a stray voltage killed his dog this week.

Zach Harper said he and his dog Hank were on their daily walk near 1st and Wall Street when his dog Hank had “an odd reaction.”

“He pretty much froze, froze in the sense of legs locked up, froze, and he immediately started letting out an unusual scream,” Harper said. “It wasn’t a growl. It wasn’t a bark. It was quite literally a scream.”

The incident happened outside the entrance of the Washington Trust Bank parking garage, where the pavement is heated.

Initial investigations reveal his death was caused by stray voltage. Similar cases have been reported in other cities when water mixes with de-icer salt, drips through sidewalk cracks, and erodes wiring below.

Since Hank’s death, Washington Trust Bank issued a statement to KXLY saying the area is now safe.

Stray voltage kills dog walking on downtown Spokane sidewalk

The statement went on to say “after we determine the cause we will then determine what next steps are to assure something like this never occurs again.”

That’s something Harper is pushing for now, from this business and others across the city.

“I encourage anyone, whether you’re a business owner or part of a construction company or you are the one doing the inspection on this sidewalk for the technology, to make sure you actually do that. Inspect it. Update it. Make sure it’s maintained,” Harper said.

Harper said the building manager for Washington Trust was one of the first people there to try and help him. He even helped Harper do CPR on Hank.

“I admire the response that Washington Trust Bank has taken and specifically Jack Heath, who is the president and chief operating officer at the bank. He’s been absolutely as helpful as he can be,” Harper said.

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