When a New Yorker walking her dogs was electrocuted in January by faulty wiring under the pavement, it seemed like the freakiest of accidents -- until several pets in other big cities were killed or shocked in the weeks that followed.

Now utilities are rushing to fix the problems -- blamed largely on work crews tearing up the streets -- and to reassure the public. Dog owners, meanwhile, are buying booties for their pets to insulate their paws.

"People are getting current up through their arms or their legs," Boston Councilor-at-Large Maura A. Hennigan said this week. "How much more current do they need to get for us to do something about it?"

On Jan. 16, 30-year-old architect Jodie Lane was electrocuted while walking through New York's East Village with her two dogs. Her dogs were shocked first. She noticed they were in distress, and when she tried to help them, she stepped onto the electrified metal cover of a utility box.

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