City: 'Lost dog' sign fine threat mistaken

July 9, 2008 at 6:00 PM

PITTSBURGH, July 9 (UPI) -- The Pittsburgh Department of Public Works said threatening a woman with fines if she didn't take down "lost dog" signs she posted around the city was a mistake.

Nicole Currivan said a department employee phoned her with a warning that she had two days to take down the estimated 1,000 fliers posted on utility poles and other structures before an investigator went out to photograph the signs and show them to a judge, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Wednesday.

"He said there's a $300 fine for every infraction of this code," meaning Currivan would have had to pay thousands of dollars in fines, she said.

However, Public Works Director Guy Costa said the warning was a mistake, as the city only bars "business and political advertising" on city property.

"It doesn't say anything about pets," Costa said. "That's why we have to let the pet lost-and-found signs stay up."

Currivan said the search for her missing dog, a black and tan Shiba Inu named Mochi, has been hindered by the fine threat, which led her and friends to take hundreds of fliers down. She said the fliers garnered the most responses from residents who reported spotting the dog at different locations in the city.

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