Why Dogs Were Getting Shocked on West End Ave: A Bit of Clarity

Last week, dog owners in the neighborhood issued warnings to one another when several pups had been harmed from the concrete along West End Avenue in the lower 70s.

On February 3, numerous folks with furry friends took to NextDoor to share horror stories of their beloved pets crying out in pain. Commenters debated whether the poor doggies were suffering from potential electrocution caused by salt and ice corroding the electrical cables below the sidewalk, or from various chemicals and rock salt used to melt the recent ice and snow.


On February 7, another concern — at the same exact location — was raised. And with it, more questions.

“Does anyone know what’s going on [on West End] between 71st and 72nd? There were fire trucks on and off late last week and smells of gas. There’s work being done on that block and re-paving of the street,” wrote a Nextdoor user.

So, what the heck is going on there? We reached out to Con Ed and a representative told us that on February 3, “Engineers reported voltage on a grading and awning” pursuant to a service request at 255 West End Avenue (between 71st and 72nd streets). “It’s known as stray voltage or contact voltage.” Essentially, it causes defective service to the building and likely resulted from the salty water caused by melting snow and nice. “It gets into the underground delivery system. Salty water is a good conductor of electricity. It makes contact with the copper conductor and voltage reaches street level.”

And the report of a gas odor? The Con Ed representative confirmed that this report was unrelated to the voltage issue. “No connection between the gas leak and the contact voltage. A leak was repaired on the 7th.”

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Though the issue seems to have been addressed on West End Ave between 70th and 72nd streets, there is still concern about similar occurrences at different locations. A second Nextdoor post noted issues on West 76th Street between Broadway and West End, West 77th and Columbus (museum side), and West 65th and Riverside Boulevard. At least two Upper West Siders reported incidents at West 65th and West End last winter, and another several years ago at Columbus Avenue between 97th and 100th streets.


For any ongoing concerns or new issues, please call Con Ed or 311. Con Ed can be contacted here through chat, email, or phone. 311 can be reached through its website here or by dialing 311 from any phone.

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