ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – A truck driver said his pet and “copilot" was electrocuted and killed after the dog stepped on a downed power line overnight Wednesday.
Brian Dixon is a truck driver from Virginia. He arrived at a warehouse on Central Florida Parkway around midnight with his dog, Thor, in the passenger seat.
“That was his spot," Dixon said, calling the pup his “copilot.”
Dixon let Thor out to use the bathroom. He said he put Thor on a leash and took him behind the warehouse near railroad tracks.
"I let him loose to find his spot and I just heard a squeal," Dixon said.
That sound came from the 3-year-old Staffordshire Terrier. Dixon said he initially thought maybe an alligator got his dog.
"As I got closer, I saw him laying there lifeless, electrocuted, smoking, and I put two and two together with this line here," he said.
The downed power line was snapped in half and daggling from a power pole near the railroad tracks.
Dixon believes Thor stepped on the live line. The dog was electrocuted and killed.
"Thor took that hit for us. He took that hit. That could have been me. If I had kept him on the lease, I would have been down there too," Dixon said.
Duke Energy came out overnight to de-energize the line, which the power company said was a low-voltage line that solely feeds streetlights.
News 6 was there when power crews came back Wednesday afternoon to fix the line and remove the dog.
Dixon was too upset to watch and walked away.
“Thor was a good boy. My boy there,” he said.
News 6 asked Duke Energy if they know when the power line fell and if there are any fail-safes in place to de-energize lines if they fall down.
A spokesperson said they were working to get the answers to our questions.
Dixon has made a claim for compensation, which Duke Energy is evaluating through its claims process.
Dixon said he wants to get justice for Thor.
"It was negligent. I feel as though for my dog to go out face down like that, that was something that if people would have done their job correctly I would still have him to this day," he said.
Dixon said he was taking the dog's remains to be cremated.
Duke Energy released the following statement to News 6:
Downed lines safety tips:
- Consider all downed power lines and anything touching them energized and hazardous.
- Stay away from downed or sagging power lines, and do not touch anything that is on or near a power line (i.e., trees or tree limbs, cars, ladders).
- After a storm, we recommend keeping children and family pets away from areas where lines may have fallen (backyards, fields, school yards, etc.).
- If a power line falls across a car that you’re in, stay in the car. If you must get out of the car due to a fire or other immediate life-threatening situation, do your best to jump clear of the car and land on both feet. Be sure that no part of your body is touching the car when your feet touch the ground.
- Report all power line hazards to Duke Energy at 800-228-8485, or contact your local emergency services department or agency.