Friday, May 27, 2011

When The Dog Laughs Last

In 2000, a 34 year old construction worker from Denver Colorado did something extremely stupid for which he paid the ultimate price. The gentleman in question was a masonry contractor who created brick and mortar edifices and having throughout his career seen many electricians at work, thought he knew enough not to require the services of one, when installing an electrified fence.

The idea behind it was to stop his dogs from roaming, after all, other dog owners had effectively employed the same tactic and farmers in the region were well known for managing cattle in much the same manner. He attached a wire to an extension cord and amazingly without mishap, managed to encircle his backyard with a 120-V strand.

The family soon became accustomed to the fence and all went well until the gentleman from Denver, decided to fetch some tomatoes from his garden. He reached out to pick one and instead of fried green tomatoes as initially intended; they ended up with fried green Charles.

Where it all went wrong ....

What our budding electrician didn’t know, is that in contrast to cattle, fences intended for dogs require a tenth of the voltage. While cattle does necessitate a 120 volts, current is regulated with the installation of a repeater which transmits 150-microsecond pulses. This cuts short the jolt in time to avoid medium to rare steaks, or if you prefer, medium to rare Charlies.

Reference: Darwin Awards

Ernest Roper
Regional Manager Durban


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