A shocking experience for dogs, owners

Canines zapped with electricity in rare occurrence on Avenue

First response worker Will Gemmell replaces a B.C. Hydro manhole cover after a crew fixed a worn-out connector on Oak Bay Avenue.

First response worker Will Gemmell replaces a B.C. Hydro manhole cover after a crew fixed a worn-out connector on Oak Bay Avenue.

Saturday started out like the usual weekend day for Susan Klemola and her 12-year-old Siberian husky, Rudy.

The two had left for their morning walk at 8:30 and were strolling down Oak Bay Avenue through the Village. As they passed in front of the Bank of Montreal, Klemola was startled when her dog started howling and shaking uncontrollably.

Given the dog’s age, Klemola thought it might be a seizure or some other form of medical distress.

Turns out Rudy had inadvertently stepped on a B.C. Hydro manhole cover, under which the rubber coating on the end of a connecting wire had worn off, making the iron lid live with electricity.

“All of a sudden he just screamed and collapsed,” Klemola said. “He rolled and fell (toward a concrete garbage can nearby). He’s pretty old, so I thought he might be having a heart attack or something.”

A CIBC employee across the street saw what was happening and raced over to drag the dog away from the hot spot, noting that the same thing happened to another dog the day before.

“Had the girls at the bank not said that they had seen the exact same thing at the same spot the day before (I wouldn’t have known what was happening),” Klemola said.

Mayor Nils Jensen happened to be walking by and called public works to look into the mysterious area of sidewalk.

Eventually a Hydro crew came by Saturday to remedy the problem.

A B.C. Hydro spokesperson chalked the incident up to aging infrastructure.

“We do frequent inspections of our system, but considering how many thousands and thousands of kilometres of lines of distribution that we have in the province, there are going to be some things that wear away before we can attend to them,” said Ted Olynyk, manager of communications.

He could not recall any similar incidents where people had been shocked.

– with files from Ryan Flaherty

editor@oakbaynews.com