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Nassau mayor reverses rule against flyers for missing dog search

Buddy, a 1-year-old beagle Labrador retriever mix, escaped

Buddy, a 1-year-old beagle Labrador retriever mix, escaped the Massapequa home of his dog sitter on Sept. 20, 2017 while his family was on vacation. His owners and a group of volunteers are now searching for him. Credit: MaryEllen Humphrey

A village ordinance banning people from putting up signs in Massapequa Park almost interfered with the search for a missing 1-year-old dog named Buddy.

The dog has been missing since Sept. 20, when he escaped from his dog-sitter’s home in Massapequa.

Buddy’s owner, MaryEllen Humphrey, 52, of Wantagh, had put up fliers on telephone poles around Massapequa Park after the dog fled. But on Wednesday, Humphrey received a call from a village officer, telling her she had violated an ordinance that prohibits people from posting anything on telephone poles in the village.

According to Humphrey, she was told to take down the missing dog fliers for the beagle-Labrador mix, or she’d otherwise have to go to court or pay a fine.

Later that day, she shared the news on the “Find Buddy” Facebook page she had made, and in the post provided a number others could call to complain to the village.

“All kinds of irate phone calls were made to the village,” Humphrey said.

Mayor Jeffrey Pravato said he learned about the wave of phone calls from angry residents on Humphrey’s behalf on Wednesday.

He said the ordinance aims to maintain a beautiful environment in the village, but that code enforcers weren’t aware of the “complexity” of the situation when they notified Humphrey of the violation.

Pravato decided Humphrey could leave up the signs that were already posted, as long as she takes them down once Buddy is found. He met with Humphrey on Thursday and helped her hand out fliers to businesses along Park Boulevard. They also placed notices in kiosks throughout the village where local news is available.

“It’s a heartfelt situation in the village, and we’re very sensitive to that,” Pravato said.

Buddy is about 50 pounds and mostly black, with patches of brown on his back legs. He does have a microchip, an implanted identification chip that can be scanned by veterinarians, according to Humphrey.

Wag!, the pet-sitting app Humphrey used to find Buddy’s dog-sitter, is also offering a $1,000 reward for Buddy.

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