WEST HARTFORD — A Hartford woman’s two dogs are still missing after a burglary, and she’s desperately trying to find them, but Amanda Denes has run into a major road block in West Hartford.
Town officials say the “lost dogs” fliers plastered around town need to come down.
After Amanda Denes came home from work Feb. 27 to find her West End home ransacked and her two dogs, Burton and Zuzu, missing, she formed a Facebook group to get the word out.
The group now has more than 4,000 “likes,” and its members have helped Denes search for the dogs, donated enough money for her to offer a $5,000 reward for their return and secured the donation of billboard space along I-91 and I-84.
“I just wanted them back, for whatever reason if someone is keeping them—I don’t care, there’s no questions asked— if it’s related to the burglary or not, I just want them back,” Said Denes.
Denes says the Facebook page members have made close to 1,000 copies of fliers and distributed them throughout sections of Hartford and West Hartford.
“We have all these people helping that we’re just giving fliers to that we don’t know exactly where they end up,” Denes said.
West Hartford town ordinances prohibit posting on telephone poles and advertising on public property or in the public right-of-way.
Town officials estimate hundreds of fliers for the lost dogs have been placed on telephone and traffic poles. They say the amount is “too excessive” and have asked Denes and her volunteers to remove the signs within two weeks.
Officials say the town‘s public works department is tasked with removing fliers from traffic poles, which often removes signs that its creators post and never take down.
“If you put a few signs that’s fine, we’re glad to help you, we`re glad to help you find your dog, but the massive signs that we had pop up in our community and they way they were put up with the massive tape created a problem for us,” said Ron Van Winkle, West Hartford town manager.
Van Winkle says officials met with Denes to ask the signs to be removed. The town has the right to charge a fine, “We’re not going to be punitive with someone,” said Van Winkle. He emphasized he is willing to work with the group.
Some of the volunteers don’t agree with the town’s decision. West Hartford resident Sandy Collins volunteered to help post fliers after discovering the missing dogs Facebook group.
“I think having a sign of missing dogs on a pole, I think that`s an over-reaction. Again, we need to get the word out there,” said Collins.
Denes says she was upset but understands the town is “doing their job.” She’s asked the Facebook group members and volunteers to start removing the fliers.
She says they are looking at other options, like using lawn signs or posting on local business bulletin boards, which are acceptable methods, according to town officials.
“It’s hurtful when I’m trying to so hard to find my dogs to encounter anyone who doesn`t want to help the effort, but I know there are guidelines and rules that apply everyone,” Denes said
The group does want to expand the search for the dogs and members are looking at posting fliers in other neighboring towns.
For more information or to join the group, visit http://www.facebook.com/FindBurtonAndZuzu.