SPOKANE, Wash. — A new city law aims to make downtown Spokane safer for pets. Under "Hank's law," city buildings with heated sidewalks are now required to upgrade their systems.
Last winter, a downtown sidewalk malfunctioned and electrocuted a Spokane man's dog. The dog's name was Hank.
Since that day, the owner made it his mission to prevent something like this from happening again. Now, Hank's Law is in effect.
City Councilman Breean Beggs sponsored the ordinance.
"I looked on our website yesterday and I saw Hank's face looking back at us," Beggs said. "As a lawyer and a council member, what I like is when we can take a tragedy and make something better and help people in the future. And that's really what this did."
An investigation in February found a stray voltage on a heated sidewalk likely electrocuted Hank.
The new citywide law in his name requires property owners with a deicing system on a public right of way to meet the current code.
"The new ones are required to have immediate cut-off if there's a short or something like this," Beggs said. "But older ones weren't and that's what happened to Hank that day. Out of that tragedy comes something the city doesn't normally do. We're going back and saying we don't care when you built your electric sidewalk heating system, you have to fix it, and you also have to tell us about it."
Property owners will now complete a registration application that includes the location of the equipment.
All existing systems are required a safety inspection, which can be scheduled with the city for free.
Over the last seven months, Hank's owner worked closely with city council to make sure the streets are safe for pets.
Harper said with Hank's Law now in effect, that means his mission is complete.
"I'm delighted," Harper said. "I'm just happy it's gone full circle and it's provided me some closure to what I set out to do."