Sarasota dog electrocuted by utility box lid during evening walk

From the start, Debbie and Lynn McDermott knew their Great Pyrenees, Charlie, was special.

"He was born with a heart on his forehead, so you already know the love that is there," said Debbie.

But they had no idea he would only touch their lives for a short time. Saturday night, Lynn took Charlie for a walk down Dade Avenue in Sarasota just as it started to rain.

"His walking path went right over this grate. As soon as his paws hit it, he's so big, at 71 pounds, he collapsed immediately," recalled Lynn.

Lynn had no idea what had happened until he reached down to help.

"My hand touched the grate and it shocked me," he continued.

There was nothing anyone could do to help.

"I tried CPR on Charlie, but at that point it was too late," said Debbie.

At 6 months old, Charlie was gone.

The metal utility box, owned by FDOT, powers street lights along Fruitville Road. The city of Sarasota said somehow a burned wire came in contact with the manhole lid, electrifying it.

Following Charlie's death, the city of Sarasota said they immediately came out here fixed the faulty wire and grounded the metal lid. The also city performed inspections on similar boxes in the area. Citywide, there are about 600; half are worked by the city and the other half are owned by FDOT.

But the pain and loss that Charlie's family feels continues.

"Nationwide, everyone needs to be aware that this manhole cover or something has potential live current or voltage coming through it. There has to be something put into place to where it's protecting the public from outside -- whether it's human or canine," said Lynn.

The city said, whenever possible, they try to replace the metal boxes with ones made of concrete or fiberglass.

Charlie's family holds onto one another tighter, knowing his loss potentially saved someone else's life.

"Maybe Charlie had to come into our life and come to Dade Avenue to save someone else, and thank God he saved his dad, but we are just heartbroken that we don't have him anymore," added Debbie.