A small dog being walked along a downtown sidewalk yesterday was apparently electrocuted moments after crossing an icy manhole cover, according to a veterinarian who examined the animal after a dog-walker brought him in.
The police quickly cordoned off the sidewalk where the dog died, on Rector Street near Greenwich Street. A crew from Consolidated Edison began testing the area for stray voltage, but Con Ed officials could not immediately confirm that the manhole cover or another metal object in the area had been electrified.
The dog, a 1-year-old 16-pound Boston terrier named Bob, was crossing the manhole cover when he suddenly lifted his paws, yelped in pain and went limp in the dog walker’s arms, according to Seth Edelstein, owner of Walkee Doggie, the TriBeCa dog-walking company that employs the walker.
If the cause of Bob’s death is determined to be electrocution, his death would be the latest in a string of episodes in which pet owners or their pets were harmed by stray voltage in metal plates or other objects on the city’s streets and sidewalks.
The most serious accident occurred in 2004, when Jodie S. Lane, a graduate student, died while walking her two dogs on a wet street in the East Village. The utility later found that a metal service plate Ms. Lane had walked on had been accidentally electrified because of insufficient insulation.
Mr. Edelstein, who would not identify the dog walker, said she gave the dog mouth-to-mouth resuscitation after Bob went limp. She called the police, then dashed to a nearby animal clinic. The two other dogs being walked were uninjured, he said.
At the clinic, the Battery Park Veterinary Hospital, a veterinarian, Mary Xanthos, said Bob was dead on arrival.
“It really sounded like an electrocution,” Dr. Xanthos said, noting that the salt spread on sidewalks to melt ice can increase electrical conductivity.
Bob’s owners, Beth Boyer, 33, a hospital nurse in Manhattan, and her fiancé, Joe Cardiello, 36, a funeral director from Paramus, N.J., said they were distraught by their pet’s death. They said they had not decided whether to have a necropsy performed to help determine cause of death.
Ms. Boyer said Bob’s death was especially wrenching because Bella, a pet cat who belonged to Ms. Boyer’s roommate, just died on Saturday after a long illness. The cat and the dog were best friends, she said, and often played together. They even looked alike, Bella’s dark gray and white almost matching Bob’s black and white coat.
“This is the worst Valentine’s Day,” Ms. Boyer said./nytimes.com