A 16-foot-tall statue of a pair of women’s legs, which have been at the center of a Sag Harbor zoning dispute for years, has been vandalized, according to the statue’s owners.

Red paint was splashed onto the white statue that was created by famed artist Larry Rivers, according to owners Janet Lehr and Ruth Vered. The incident was reported to Sag Harbor police Thursday, said Stephen Grossman, Lehr and Vered’s attorney.

“It’s very upsetting,” Lehr said. “We’re talking about a piece of artwork created by a very well-respected artist and it’s been desecrated.”

Since 2008, when the Fiberglas casting known as “Legs” was installed outside the home, Vered and Lehr have been fighting to let them stand.

In 2012, the zoning board denied the couple three variances that would have brought the statue into compliance with village zoning code. The couple then collected 700 signatures in favor of the sculpture, contending it was art and didn’t need a permit. They filed for a variance to be allowed to keep the statue, but village officials denied it, saying the size of the sculpture and its proximity to the street violated building code regulations. The homeowners took their case to the state Supreme Court in Riverhead in 2015, where a judge ruled that the legs violated village code and may have to be taken down.

Last week, the village building inspector issued appearance tickets to the couple for July 7, according to Grossman. They plan to enter a plea of not guilty, Grossman said.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Lehr added they have no plans to remove the display.

“I’m not moving it,” Lehr said. “This is artwork.”