What are the rules for lost pet signs? Missing Texas dog sparks questions on process

Hays

DRIPPING SPRINGS, Texas (KXAN) — It’s been two months since Christian Lita and Adele Seger Lita’s dog, Tupac, went missing. Since, the couple has spent thousands of dollars on missing pet signage plastered throughout Dripping Springs in an attempt to alert fellow residents, along with offering a $10,000 reward.

A few weeks after his disappearance, signs began disappearing, torn down from poles, posting sites and even parts of their private property without notice. The process has left the couple gutted and looking for answers, and potential solutions, on how to streamline resources or regulations on sign postings for families with missing pets.

The two live in Dripping Springs, where animal signs are permitted, with specific regulations in place. However, with neighboring Driftwood and surrounding county properties just down the road, the two are imploring city and county agencies consolidate resources to make the process of looking for a missing pet less confusing or expensive for families.

“You see lost dog, lost cat flyers on street signs or on lamp posts….we were very conscious of where we put them,” Adele said, later adding: “[It’s] just really shocking and disheartening, especially when you’re already in a place where you’re already so stressed and sad.”

A spokesperson for the city of Dripping Springs said missing pet signs are allowed as non-commercial signs, and don’t require a permit prior to posting. Certain regulations exist on what signs are permitted, including:

  • Non-commercial missing pet signs cannot be larger than 36 square feet when posted on a commercial property; one sign per commercial property is allowed
  • Four-square-foot are allowed on the owner’s personal residential property; one additional sign, up to nine square feet, is authorized as well
  • No signs are allowed from being installed in the right-of-way and on traffic control devices

The spokesperson added signs placed in the right-of-way, on another person’s private property without consent or those that impair “use of a street, path, trail or sidewalk” can all be removed without notice. Christian and Adele said all their signs were placed in accordance with regulations they found online, and all signs placed on neighbors’ or businesses’ property were done so with the owner’s permission.

“We were happy to play by any rules that we knew existed but we don’t feel like we were given the benefit to do things right,” Adele said.

(Courtesy: Adele Seger Lita)

For many people, pets are an integral part of their families. But for Christian and Adele, Tupac is as much a family member as he is an emotional support outlet.

The two adopted him following the death of Christian’s 19-year-old daughter, Jody, in 2015. Navigating the unexpected loss of his daughter, Christian said Tupac was a source of love and the strength to forge ahead as he grieved.

“He helped a lot, to just feel a little bit of love,” he said.

While the couple are new to the Dripping Springs community, they said the generosity of neighbors and strangers alike has been profound. Many have reached out with support or tips on potential sightings, as well as shared flyers and the couple’s contact information to expand the search network.

With so many families left navigating these same missing pet searches, the two are looking for ways to save this same heartache and financial expense for others.

Christian suggested incentives or collaborations between cities and delivery services — such as FedEx, Amazon, the United States Postal Service and food delivery companies — to carry flyers with them on their daily commutes. The two also proposed a lost pets registration database for cities and counties to help report and keep track of recent sightings.

As the couple begins working with a new animal locator company this week, each said their sole goal is to find Tupac and bring him back home to the community that has rallied behind his retrieval.

“You make them a promise to keep them safe for their life,” Christian said, adding: “I just hope he’s happy and he’s been taken care of.”

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