Portland, Oregon Guide Dogs Getting Shocked at Light-rail Stations

Thanks to the Seattle Times for this article. Portland stations giving guide dogs electrical shocks By The Associated Press PORTLAND Wet platforms at some light-rail...

Joy  |  Feb 6th 2008


Thanks to the Seattle Times for this article.

Portland stations giving guide dogs electrical shocks
By The Associated Press

PORTLAND Wet platforms at some light-rail stations are causing mild electrical shocks to guide dogs for the blind that can cause the animals to ignore their training and make them unable to do their jobs.

The same problem surfaced eight years ago, requiring three dogs to be retrained and forcing one to retire. The dogs are given to the blind for free, but it costs more than $50,000 to train one.

The problem appeared to be solved when the TriMet transportation agency put capacitors along the tracks to soak up the extra voltage.

But the problem has occurred again on the west side of the city, according to Patricia Kepler, past president of Guide Dog Users of Oregon.

Kepler said she was at a Westside MAX light-rail station recently when her guide dog, Reuben, was shocked four times as they tried to board the train.

“Reuben kind of stumbled,” Kepler said. “My husband asked: ‘Did he just get shocked?’ I said, ‘No, they fixed that.’ “

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