Family mourns dog electrocuted by downed line

Posted at 11:38 PM, Jul 02, 2012
and last updated 2012-07-02 23:55:06-04

HENRICO, Va. (WTVR)—While hundreds of thousands of Virginians have dealt with a temporary loss of power from weekend storms, one Henrico family tries to cope with the permanent loss of their dog.

Kenneth Newland told CBS 6 that his dog of 12 years was electrocuted and killed by a downed, energized power line.

“It wasn’t a typical dog bark,” Newland recollected. “It was like a stress bark.”

Newland heard the sound and whipped his heard around, to find the unimaginable; an image that will stay with him for quite some time, if not forever.

“I whip my head around and I saw her in the air,” Newland said. 

The burn marks are still in the back yard. 

Newland said he was assessing the damage from the Monday, June 25 storm with a neighbor when his dog, Emily, ran to the back of the yard where lay an energized power line.

Newland, frustrated, could only watch because he too would have been electrocuted.

“I watched sparks come off her paws and then I had to sit there and smell her smolder for 40 minutes,” he said.

Newland told CBS 6 that he called Dominion and warned them about the wire dangling across his yard, but said no one removed it before restoring power.

“We had a Dominion Virginia Power employee on-site, meeting with the family about debris and downed lines in the area when their dog ran away into another neighbor’s yard and was electrocuted by a downed line,” said David Botkins, spokesman for Dominion Virginia Power, in a statement.

“This was a very unfortunate circumstance, and reinforces the importance of reporting downed power lines to the company, not just outages. Our thoughts and heartfelt prayers are with the family for the loss of their dog,” the statement continued.

A few doors down from Newland, another man claimed Dominion has been negligent with its power restoration efforts. He too had a downed line that was energized and started a fire near his dog’s pen.

And the neighbors said they worry not only about the dogs, but the children.

“I’ve got two kids. They’re worried about the dogs. They [kids] could have been dead just as quick as anybody,’ Newland’s neighbor said.

Newland said that as sad as this loss is, he’s just thankful his son and wife didn’t venture into the charged area first.