A couple years ago Justin Hayford wrote an alarming (and tearjerking) cover story for us about the near-death of his rescued chow mix, Faustus, who apparently encountered “stray voltage”–a phenomenon you hear about a lot in the winter, when aging electrical infrastructure meets wet, salted sidewalks. It can be dangerous for people, but it seems to be especially dangerous for dogs. 

The old Reader story just drew a new comment from reader Steve Edfors:

This description of the incident of owner with dog is almost exactly what happened to our dog this past Friday night(12/19/08), as she was coming home with my housemate from a walk. The only difference is that our dog died after seizing for about 20 minutes.

Edfors wants to know what, if anything, is being done to prevent this sort of thing. I’ve put in some calls to the Bureau of Electricity and ComEd for an update, but in the meantime, one precaution dog owners might want to take is to shoe their pooches: rubber booties may provide some protection, and they also protect the dog’s feet from the irritating substances used to melt ice.

Other advice out there includes: 

Don’t walk near the bases of open light poles

Don’t step on or let your dog step on metal covers in the sidewalk

Don’t let your dog pee on conductive things

Don’t use a metal leash