City to pay $11K to owners of electrocuted dog

Posted on July 15th, 2011 by Editor


The city of Seattle agreed to pay $11,000 earlier this month to Lisa McKibbin and Nancy Bostdorff, the owners of a dog that was electrocuted after stepping onto a charged ground-cover plate on Queen Anne Ave N on Thanksgiving Day, according to a report by the Seattle PI.

McKibbin and Bostdorff filed a $60,000 claim over Sammy’s death back in March, claiming physical, emotional and monetary damages. Sammy was a 6-year-old German shorthaired pointer.

McKibbin had been walking Sammy when he stepped on and was killed by 90 volts of “stray voltage” on a sidewalk ground-plate cover. The tragedy prompted an investigation at Seattle City Light, which found that four area streetlamps, including the one that killed Sammy, had been improperly grounded by a private contractor back in 2006. City Light responded by conducting a first-ever inspection of all 37,000 streetlights and associated equipment citywide. By the time the inspection concluded in January the utility had found and repaired 56 sites with elevated voltage.

According to the PI report, as per the terms of the agreement, the city will now post contact voltage “safety messages” on the Seattle City Light website, and is also expected to post a link to a page on electrical safety from a Toronto utility.

The owners’ attorney, Adam Karp, told the PI that McKibbin and Bostdorff “congratulate the city on taking preventative steps to protect the public from future hazards.”

Read the full story at the Seattle PI.


  • No amount of money in the world can make up for such a loss. My heartfelt condolences to Lisa and Nancy.

    Kudos to the City for taking the necessary action to make sure such a tragedy never happens again.

  • No amount of money in the world can make up for such a loss. My heartfelt condolences to Lisa and Nancy.

    Kudos to the City for taking the necessary action to make sure such a tragedy never happens again.

  • NotRicklie

    @Ricklie, you’re being a bit over-dramatic there. Yes, the loss of their dog is sad, but it’s a pet, and I can guarantee even yourself would be convinced at some price point that your pet (if you have one) is worth less than “all the money in the world.”

  • NotRicklie

    @Ricklie, you’re being a bit over-dramatic there. Yes, the loss of their dog is sad, but it’s a pet, and I can guarantee even yourself would be convinced at some price point that your pet (if you have one) is worth less than “all the money in the world.”

  • John Watt

    This is absurd. They should have simply been given credit for a free dog or two from Animal Control. I suppose that this is one of these situations where the City feels that it is cheaper to buy them off on their extortionate demand that to fight it.

  • John Watt

    This is absurd. They should have simply been given credit for a free dog or two from Animal Control. I suppose that this is one of these situations where the City feels that it is cheaper to buy them off on their extortionate demand that to fight it.

  • rodstewart

    @ John Watt “This is absurd. They should have simply been given credit for a free dog or two from Animal Control.”

    Would you be singing the same antisocially indifferent tune were that a child instead of what you deem as merely just a dog?

  • rodstewart

    @ John Watt “This is absurd. They should have simply been given credit for a free dog or two from Animal Control.”

    Would you be singing the same antisocially indifferent tune were that a child instead of what you deem as merely just a dog?

  • They are giving the money to charity.

  • They are giving the money to charity.

  • NotRod

    @Rod – Human lives are definitely more important than the lives of animals.

  • NotRod

    @Rod – Human lives are definitely more important than the lives of animals.

  • jen

    Ha ha @3 “given credit for a free dog or two from Animal Control”.

    I think it’s insane to pay out 11k for the loss of a pet. While the accident is tragic, it just seems a bit much.

  • jen

    Ha ha @3 “given credit for a free dog or two from Animal Control”.

    I think it’s insane to pay out 11k for the loss of a pet. While the accident is tragic, it just seems a bit much.

  • rodstewart

    @ NotRod – “Human lives are definitely more important than the lives of animals.”

    I’ve seen exceptions on both sides of the spectrum.

  • rodstewart

    @ NotRod – “Human lives are definitely more important than the lives of animals.”

    I’ve seen exceptions on both sides of the spectrum.

  • Mike

    I remember this one time where I almost hit a dog in the street, it was super scary cause wow what a cute dog. When I swerved I accidentally forced a schoolbus of children into a propane tank and they exploded in a firery ball of death but as I looked at the cute little mutt lick his balls safely on the side of the road I knew I had made the right decision.

    Speaking of children- have you heard they keep hundreds of stray children locked up in cages, and that if they don’t get adopted they are simply put down?!? It’s like they’re being treated like animals.

    I guess some anti-social indifferent people just don’t understand that what they deem merely “a dog” or merely “a sex doll” can mean just as much to a person as a “child”. Sure children can talk and learn things and develop into a fully grown adult capable of all the good and bad things humanity has to offer, while a dog generally is happy if it is fed and walked once in a while (not on those non-grounded plates though!) but generally dog=child yeah, I don’t see an issue with that.

    Glad to hear they donated the money to charity.

  • Mike

    I remember this one time where I almost hit a dog in the street, it was super scary cause wow what a cute dog. When I swerved I accidentally forced a schoolbus of children into a propane tank and they exploded in a firery ball of death but as I looked at the cute little mutt lick his balls safely on the side of the road I knew I had made the right decision.

    Speaking of children- have you heard they keep hundreds of stray children locked up in cages, and that if they don’t get adopted they are simply put down?!? It’s like they’re being treated like animals.

    I guess some anti-social indifferent people just don’t understand that what they deem merely “a dog” or merely “a sex doll” can mean just as much to a person as a “child”. Sure children can talk and learn things and develop into a fully grown adult capable of all the good and bad things humanity has to offer, while a dog generally is happy if it is fed and walked once in a while (not on those non-grounded plates though!) but generally dog=child yeah, I don’t see an issue with that.

    Glad to hear they donated the money to charity.

  • rodstewart

    I see that you are no stranger to dramatization, hyperbole and projection, Mike.

    I’m pretty sure the incident that you illustrated above never happened, but hey, whatever it takes to fortify your case right?

  • rodstewart

    I see that you are no stranger to dramatization, hyperbole and projection, Mike.

    I’m pretty sure the incident that you illustrated above never happened, but hey, whatever it takes to fortify your case right?

  • I couldn’t imagine if that was a person wearing sandals or no shoes. Part of city living is the danger I guess.

  • I couldn’t imagine if that was a person wearing sandals or no shoes. Part of city living is the danger I guess.

  • Sally Steeltoe

    Oh, god. I always know there’s going to be a smattering of comments about how trivial dogs’ lives are compared to those of PEOPLE. Ugh. With folks like you I’d rather hang out with my dogs.

  • Sally Steeltoe

    Oh, god. I always know there’s going to be a smattering of comments about how trivial dogs’ lives are compared to those of PEOPLE. Ugh. With folks like you I’d rather hang out with my dogs.

  • Matt

    @NotRicklie:
    “you’re being a bit over-dramatic there. Yes, the loss of their dog is sad, but it’s a pet, and I can guarantee even yourself would be convinced at some price point that your pet (if you have one) is worth less than ‘all the money in the world.'”

    And I can assure you that there’s no amount of money you could offer me that would result in me allowing you to or being okay with you killing or even purchasing either my dogs. Regardless of how you feel about pets, I’m sure that many pet owners would feel the same as me.

    I didn’t find that statement over-dramatic at all.

  • Matt

    @NotRicklie:
    “you’re being a bit over-dramatic there. Yes, the loss of their dog is sad, but it’s a pet, and I can guarantee even yourself would be convinced at some price point that your pet (if you have one) is worth less than ‘all the money in the world.'”

    And I can assure you that there’s no amount of money you could offer me that would result in me allowing you to or being okay with you killing or even purchasing either my dogs. Regardless of how you feel about pets, I’m sure that many pet owners would feel the same as me.

    I didn’t find that statement over-dramatic at all.

  • Reasoned Reply

    I think what you’re missing Mike is that this wasn’t an act of will where the city decided to kill the dog. It was an unfortunate fatal accident. So the argument isn’t whether you would be OK with letting this happen for a certain amount of money (few would), but rather if there were an accident of this nature would 11k, inspection of 37,000 light poles, and 56 repairs demonstrate to you that the city took reasonable steps to address the problem in the best way they could.

  • Reasoned Reply

    I think what you’re missing Mike is that this wasn’t an act of will where the city decided to kill the dog. It was an unfortunate fatal accident. So the argument isn’t whether you would be OK with letting this happen for a certain amount of money (few would), but rather if there were an accident of this nature would 11k, inspection of 37,000 light poles, and 56 repairs demonstrate to you that the city took reasonable steps to address the problem in the best way they could.

  • Ernie

    I’m pretty sure that 11k is pocket change compared to the cost of inspecting 37,000 light poles, and completing 56 repairs .

  • Ernie

    I’m pretty sure that 11k is pocket change compared to the cost of inspecting 37,000 light poles, and completing 56 repairs .

  • Joe

    I think the penalty was more for negligence on the part of the city. What if you yourself or a close (human) family member had been electrocuted by this faulty wiring? If it could take down a dog this size it could certainly have taken down a person.

  • Joe

    I think the penalty was more for negligence on the part of the city. What if you yourself or a close (human) family member had been electrocuted by this faulty wiring? If it could take down a dog this size it could certainly have taken down a person.