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City of Spokane, Avista say heated sidewalks aren't regulated after dog's electrocution

A man’s dog was recently killed after being electrocuted in downtown Spokane due to an apparent heated sidewalk malfunction.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Representatives from the City of Spokane and utility company Avista say they are not responsible for regulating or maintaining heated sidewalks.

Marlene Feist with the City of Spokane said the city does not install this type of sidewalk, so they don’t keep a record of where they have been installed.

KREM 2 also reached out to Avista, the company that would supply power to a heated sidewalk. The company said it doesn’t regulate or check any private equipment.

This comes after a man’s dog was killed after being electrocuted in downtown Spokane due to an apparent heated sidewalk malfunction. It was a mixture of melting rock salt and electricity from beneath the sidewalk that is believed to be what caused the dog’s electrocution.

RELATED: Spokane man’s dog killed from apparent ‘stray voltage’ on downtown sidewalk

Feist said these sidewalks are mainly in private areas.

For someone to install these sidewalks, Feist said they would likely need an electrical permit. She said they would also need a construction permit if they wanted to build the sidewalk on a public right-of-way.

The only way the city would be able to get a list of the heated sidewalks in the area would be to look through a list of thousands of electrical permit records to see which work orders were for heated sidewalks, Feist said.

Feist said the city is not responsible for maintaining these sidewalks and ensuring they work properly because it does not keep track of them. This leaves the owner of a sidewalk responsible in the case of an incident.

Simply looking at a sidewalk doesn’t help to determine if it is heated, Feist said. She said some sidewalks were built over vaults, so a sidewalk could snow be heated even if there is not snow on it.