MASSAPEQUA PARK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – There’s now proof you can fight City Hall — or in this case, Village Hall.
It’s all over the strategy to find a missing dog, named Buddy, CBS2 first told you about last week.
Mary Ellen Humphrey cut her family’s Disney vacation short by a week when the dog sitter she hired called her to say her beloved Beagle-Labrador mix, Buddy, slipped out the front door and ran away to parts unknown. Despite her agony, Humphrey does not blame the dog sitter or the dog sitter service, Wag.
“I feel sorry for her too. She’s really been searching for him desperately,” Humphrey said.
It’s been a weeklong search boosted by Wag, which hired people to put up 1,000 posters. The company is even using drones to search for Buddy throughout Massapequa Park. That’s where the 1-and-a-half-year-old black canine had been spotted.
But then, a town code officer called Humphrey to demand the signs be taken down.
She pleaded that Buddy was the best friend to her heartbroken special needs son, but was told she could be fined.
“I think it’s pretty sad. I little special needs boy’s dog is missing and you want to fine us for trying to find him,” she said.
“That’s absolutely awful. That’s heartless,” her neighbor, Colleen O’Brien, said.
Neighbors and fellow dog owners called the village ruling misguided.
When CBS2 called demanding answers, the mayor spoke with Humphrey by phone, setting up a meeting minutes later at Village Hall.
“Sorry for the confusion,” Mayor Jeffrey Pravato said.
He quickly reversed the code enforcement officer’s instructions, saying the signs could stay up. He even offered to place them in City Hall and to personally hand some out.
“I’ll go with you to put some up in a couple stores,” he said.
The mayor said the village code is meant to prevent excess signage, but this is a compassionate exception.
Humphrey said she will gladly take the help and will keep passing out the flyers to residents, convinced Buddy will be found alive.
There is a $1,000 reward and no questions asked police for anyone who may have found Buddy and now wants to turn the dog in. He also has a microchip identifying his owner.