Dog Dies After Touching Electrified Post, but Who Is to Blame?

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Photo Credit: Lorena Henriquez/El Universal
Photo Credit: Lorena Henriquez/El Universal

A loved dog died electrocuted while on a walk with his owner, all due to improper and unsafe urban planning design.

The accident happened in the costal city of Cartagena, Colombia, on September 21, 2014. On that day the city experienced heavy rains, but once the rain stopped, the dog and his owner went out for a walk. Unfortunately the dog brushed against a metal light post and got electrocuted.

According to Luis Mejía, general manager for the city’s Electric Workers’ Union (Unión Temporal Alumbrado Público), the light post is built and installed to safety standards, but what posts a safety issue is the electric line suspended in the air carrying 220 killowatts. The city’s electric company ISA (Interconexión Eléctrica S.A) installed the line and Mejía believes ISA is responsible for the accident and need to come up with a solution.

Experts say that due to the city’s air salinity and humidity, the 19.6 feet of distance between the light post and the electric line is not enough. The proximity to one another creates a magnetic field where electric current is diverted to the metal post and anyone walking by the post can accidentally touch it and die.

Mejía says that during night time the situation is even more dangerous. Due to Cartagena’s high salinity it is easier to feel the electric field. Locals walking by with open umbrellas have experienced small electric shocks.

For now the solution has been to turn off the power to the light posts and advice people to stay away, but even with this measure the electric field and its danger is still present. ISA is not planning on relocating the suspended electric line and the Electric Workers’ Union is looking for other alternative solutions.

So far, the dog has been the only victim, and sadly, no one is accepting responsibility for the his death.