Con Ed had an uneasy flashback yesterday as reports of electrically charged sidewalks started to come in along with the (seriously) ick weather. Luckily there were no more fatalities, but the idea of dogs being shocked with "up to 50 volts of stray current," as happened to at least one unlucky canine, is still not so good.
So why exactly do sidewalk electrocutions suddenly start popping up as an issue each winter? According to our ever informative commentators (thanks ya'll!) it has to do with the reaction of snow and salt: "The calcium chloride and wet, melting snow mixture eats through the sheath of cables in the manholes (most of which are old, and ready to fail anyway) allowing voltage to escape via the path of the wet wall and manhole cover. ... Dogs, with their wet, fleshy paw pads, tend to notice the leaking voltage long before us rubber-soled humans."
Which is to say, pay attention to your pup when it tells you it doesn't like that patch of sidewalk. And then report it to 311!