A Nashville woman blames the Nashville Electric Service for the deaths of her two dogs who she says escaped while contractors cut down trees on her property.
According to homeowner Cynthia Buckman, contractors for NES came to her property allegedly without permission on February 19.
After cutting down a tree and reportedly leaving behind a mess, Buckman asked the crew to come clean up the debris, which they did on the same day.
On February 20, however, Buckman said her two dogs, Lukas and Skylar escaped out of an unsecured gate. The two Australian Shepherds were found dead on railroad tracks near Murphy Road.
Buckman told Nashville's News 2 she blames NES for coming onto her property and not securing the gate. She said she has no reason to think her gate was unlocked.
“I want them to take responsibility and to tell the truth. We will never see our dogs again and I don't want this to happen to anyone else,” she said.
NES officials admitted to doing work in the area of Buckman's home to remove several trees after an outage; however, they said they are not responsible for the tragic incident.
“One of our employees has spoken with Mrs. Buckman today, and we are very sorry for her loss. The crews were required to enter her property when the trimming took place. During that time, Mrs. Buckman secured her two dogs while crews were on-site,” Corporate Communications Supervisor Laurie Parker said.
She continued, “NES was contacted later by Mrs. Buckman to come back and pick up a few logs that were left on her property. The contractor wasn't able to reach her beforehand, therefore they used a piece of equipment with an extendable arm to reach over the fence and pick up the logs from the yard. The crew did not enter the fence or open the gate. The contractor remembers seeing the dogs in the yard when they left.”
Buckman, however, disputes much of NES' claims and says she was not home when the work was done on her property.
“I didn't secure the dogs,” she said. “The dogs were out here the whole time they were working in the yard, because I asked them to notify me to let me know to secure them and they did not.”
Buckman added as far as the work crews seeing the dogs in the yard when they left is true, since her beloved pets didn't escape until the following day when she let them out without realizing the gate was not secured as it normally was.
“The dogs were in the yard when they left, it was the next morning when they escaped. The gate didn't open itself,” she said.
Since the dogs' deaths last week, Buckman said she has spoken to an internal investigator for NES who came to her home and inspected the scene.
“He told me it would be hard to believe they didn't come in to clean the debris because of all the dust and to fix the divots and to rake it. He found it hard to believe they didn't come into the yard,” she said.
Buckman called the NES investigator while with News 2 Tuesday. As soon as the contractor learned she was speaking to the media, he said, “I'm not allowed to chat with anyone. I am not speaking with the news.”
When Buckman attempted to ask if he stood by his claim of it likely being impossible for work crews to remove the debris from her property without entering the yard, the NES investigator replied before hanging up, “Some other things have come to light and I am not allowed to talk about that. We had a prepared statement, and not talking to anyone from the news.”
Buckman is stunned by the phone conversation.
“He totally changed his tune,” she said. “He came out himself, onto the property and he said he didn't see how they cleaned up the debris without entering the yard.”
Buckman told News 2 other members of her Cherokee Road community have similar stories of NES leaving gates unsecured after cutting trees.