Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Zap and Scruffy is Dead

Today, a man took his dog for a walk in Toronto, and in the blink of an eye, the dog died. It happened when the dog walked over a metal hydro vault plate in the sidewalk, which had been electrically charged by a short circuit in the hydro pole next to it.

This isn’t the first time this has happened in Canada’s largest city – it happened just a few blocks from today’s incident a couple of months previously.

You’d think in one of the largest and most technologically advanced countries in the world, our sidewalks would be safe – but think again.

Toronto Hydro, when asked about how wide spread this risk is, says they just don’t know.

In the winter, our bare pawed four legged friends are most susceptible to this type of risk, as their paws act like a conductor and draw the current through their bodies. Our thick soled winter footwear can prevent the current from going into our bodies.

However, in the warmer spring and summer months, when people walk around in flip-flops, sandals, or even bare footed, we humans are just as much at risk of electrocution as Scruffy.

Which makes it all the more important that Toronto Hydro take immediate steps to fix this, and fix it fast.

Though that probably won’t happen – they have to rent the inferred equipment from the States, and because there are thousands of metal hydro vaults and poles all across the city, it could take several years before they have found every “hot spot.”

Still, this shouldn’t have happened in one of the world’s largest and most advanced civilizations – we should be masters of our domain, so-to-speak. Thanks to government cutbacks, infrastructures crumble and now a walk outside could prove deadly.

For years people have complained about the increase in pot holes in our roads, the backups of our sewers, and various water mains which break and flood. Although all of these are great inconveniences, none have proven deadly, until today’s electrocution of a dog out for a stroll with his owner.

Politicians are doing what they do best, divert attention away from themselves, and try to act like the heroes by launching investigations into the cause – justice will be served, reports will be written, and public hearings may even be called.

But that won’t bring back the two dogs killed by our careless cost cutting politicians. And if all the hoopla over government reports and public hearings that may result from today’s events follows the course of all the hoopla of reports and public hearings before, they will just fade away. Once the public hearings close, no one talks about them, the news forgets about them, and focuses on more current events. Reports are filed and collect dust in government depositories, where even Conan the Librarian may never find them again.

Real action must be taken to ensure our cities have the money needed to protect those that call those cities home, and their pets too.

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