Woman Says Town Of Acton Refused To Let Her Put Up “Lost Dog” Signs

By Jim Armstrong, WBZ-TV

ACTON (CBS) – Among the jumble of signs and sandwich boards along Route 27 in Acton, you won’t see one for Bridgett the missing Husky.

And that makes her owner frustrated.

“It makes me really angry and I don’t understand it,” says Pat Panek. “Frankly, I just can’t wrap my brain around it.”

Getting Bridgett back has been Panek’s mission since the six-year-old Siberian Husky bolted from her Littleton yard last November.

Panek maintains a Facebook page about Bridgett, and hands out detailed flyers, brochures, and business cards with information and photos about the dog.

And she’s getting results.

“It’s amazing,” she explains. “Once they’ve seen her picture or get some information, the calls come in.”

There have been close to 30 sightings so far, including one Friday morning. Panek has them all plotted on Google maps.

“This dog has been everywhere! But now she’s kind of near Pratt’s Brook Conservation land in Acton, so that’s really nice,” she says.

It would be nicer, Pat continues, if the town of Acton hadn’t forbidden her from putting up “Lost Dog” signage.

She claims that officials and residents have given her a hard time, threatening to take down her lost dog signs – and in some cases doing so – because they violate town by-laws.

We spoke at length with Mike Gowing, the Chairman of the Acton Board of Selectmen. He says the town has actually started the process of re-writing its by-laws that pertain to signage. As they stand now, the rules about signs are sometimes contradictory and often confusing.

“We try to balance good citizenship with enforcing the law,” he explains.

Acton officials want to help people like Pat Panek, but don’t want the town overrun with signs. Part of the selectmens’ job is to maintain the historic look and feel of the town.

And in this case, they wonder, how long should someone be allowed to keep up their posters?

Remember, Bridgett’s been gone almost four months.

That’s a little too long, at least as Chairman Gowing sees things. “That’s unreasonable at this point,” he says, “because considering at it was over the winter, this dog’s either been taken in by somebody, or it’s gone.”

“If you’ve lost your dog, how long is it that you should have the ability to put up signs that say, ‘Where’s my dog’? When do you call that?”

Panek understands that dilemma, but says she hand writes a note on the back of every one of Bridgett’s signs, explaining that she will take them down as soon as the dog is found.

“I promise to take them down as soon as she is located,” Panek says, “but please leave them up because this is a surefire, best way to get her home and get her home quickly.”

UPDATE: WBZ also spoke over the phone with the Director of Acton’s Planning Department, Roland Bartl. His department helps enforce the zoning rules that pertain to signage in town. He points out that at no time has anyone in his agency actually prevented Panek from putting up one of her lost dog signs – a contention that Panek herself confirms. In fact, Bartl told WBZ that Panek is, right now, allowed to put up her signs as long as she takes them down in a timely manner.

Selectman Gowing says those mixed signals — the sign can go up, but needs to come down — are just another reason why the by-laws here need to be re-written. No one wants to see a dog go missing, he explains, but the town also wants to avoid a situation where there could literally be dozens and dozens of ‘lost dog’ posters (some of which have been placed by non-residents) all over town.

Panek says that some Acton business owners have told her they are reluctant to put up her signs because they fear being fined by the town. She has also seen some of her signs “disappear”, but she admits that is likely happening because of individual residents who don’t like the signs, not because town officials are taking them down.

More from Jim Armstrong
  • Janet K.

    Tell the Acton selectman who is not a dog owner – he is ignorant. Dogs can be on the run for MONTHS (especially Northern breeds) and survive to return home. Two months, 4 months and more.Let the woman put up her signs. You wouldn’t hesitate if it was your child. Well, this is her child. He has NO CLUE what he is talking about. He has never been involved in a search for a lost dog. It is obvious by his comments.


      the irony of this is that they have these laws in place to ‘preserve the histrorical feel’ of the town, which is fine, but how about preserving the historical sensibilities of the town as well? do you think the Acton of the 1800’s or whatever era you are trying to channel would have turned it’s back on this woman’s plight? instead of making decisions about how to make your town look like an authentic new england town, why not try acting like an authentic new england town. not helping is one thing, IMPEDING the owner’s efforts is quite another…

    • Aqualung

      My cat, DECLAWED by his previous owners, dashed out the door one winter and stayed on the lam for three months. He made it home thanks to a microchip. The vet gave him a clean bill of health. Four months on the road for a Husky won’t be that bad provided he doesn’t run into traffic or someone shoots him.

    • ericdb

      I think he is joking people.

    • Suzanne

      That’s horrible. Shame on Acton for forbidding “lost” signs. But shame on the owner for not getting her animal MICROCHIPPED to begin with. Sorry but it’s not that expensive; and it’s the only way you can know your lost animal will eventually be discovered some day by a vet who scans that animal and finds your info. It doesn’t hurt them, and it keeps them safe, and returns them to you.

      • Pat Panek

        Suzanne … read further down. Bridgett not only has one microchip, she has two. Shame on you for rushing to judgment. First the dog has to be found, then be taken to a vet or a shelter, before it can be scanned. Chips do not emit homing signals.

      • Kirlicia

        Please do your research…an animal has to be found dead or alive to utilize the microchipping technology. It is NOT a GPS system.

      • boon companion

        Suzanne. Tsk tsk tsk. “A dog owner that would chip away at liberty to obtain a little surveillance security deserves neither liberty nor security.” – Bowzer Franklin, the Liberty Dog.

        Seriously. Old Dog Franklin, had some real foresight. Look it up.

      • Keats

        I don’t know what part of the country you are in but I don’t know anyone who has their dog microchipped and my vet has never discussed it with me. I’m in Upstate New York. I also do not believe it is safe or healthy for the pet and frankly I find it unethical. So I say shame on you for suggesting to blame the pet owner in this story to begin with.

      • lee

        thanks for keeping us uninformed you uninformed ignoramous.
        looks to me like you should have found something else to do yesterday than
        show your complete ignorance here.
        feel free to come back anytime

      • Cutie1953

        A microchip is god, but in order for it to do any good the animal must be caught and then scanned for the chip. If the dog is running scared and can’t be caught, the chip does no good. If it’s caught and someone decides to just keep it as a pet, the chip likewise does no good.

    • sablegsd

      You obviously know NOTHING about dogs.

    • Danny

      Oh look, wittle jaygee threw the race card. How sweet…and pathetic. Here’s a bit of news for you moron. Not liking the perfumed prince doesn’t equate to racsom. Seems that you may be the racist.

      • Sammie Jo

        oh another king worshipper, he can do no wrong, and if you say he did, why, you must be a racist.
        People who throw out the race card are the biggest racists.

      • Janet K.

        You comment is out of line. I made no racist remarks or even suggested any such thing. If calling a dog a ‘northern’ breed is racist – check your dictionary and the AKC web site. I own a working dog just like Bridgett is a working dog. I made no comments about race or political persuasion. That is irrelevant when discussing a dog on the run. And to the person who said that a well-trained dog wouldn’t flee – you too are misguided. If the dog gets spooked by something fall or an unexpected noise, a hellatious thunderstorm or unexpected fireworks – an animal could easily get anxious and flee. Been there, done that with a velcro dog when something fell on her unexpectedly in the garage. Fortunately she was only gone 23 hrs. (the worst 23 hrs. of my life and she wasn’t my dog)

        Danny – get your quotes right!

    • RightontheLeftCoast

      That is ridiculous. Many dogs, when given the chance often run away. And that especially applies to huskies. I had one and that dog would be gone in a beeline in a heartbeat when she got the chance. And she was a well treated family pet who also got a tremendouis amount of exercise (walks, etc.)

    • Scott

      TJ you do not know what you are talking about! The dog is a husky. My huskies are the most spoiled (dog food @ $75 per 28lb), well taken care of(indoor dogs with a huge fenced yard) dogs anyone could imagine, but, if they get the chance they will run like the wind. Huskies are notorious for running off and once they are loose for getting lost.

      • Janet K.

        My next door neighbor’s Sibe took off when the gate didn’t quite latch and she was a house dog. Has nothing to do with training (she had CD and RN titles). She’s a dog and the breed loves to run. Training is not relevant, especially if the owner is not in the fenced yard at the moment when the dog sees the opportunity.


      this is a false statement. for any number of reasons the dog could have been kept in a back yard and when the opporunity arose, it bolted and got lost. it may have followed another dog, or dogs into an area it was unfamiliar with, it could have been chased away or frightened by a truck or unruly children, there are too many variables for this person to make this statement. TJ you might offer a rebuttal that you are a dog owner, and if so, that’s great. but you cannot judge one dogs behavior by another ones, they are as different from one another as people are.

    • Miguel

      It’s an evil town of self-servers, people who want everything to be very, very clean. Maybe a town where all cars are gray Buicks or silver gray Toyotas, sitting in clean little matching yards, in other words a town of mindless robots amidst a history they cannot understand, people who can’t get past their selfish self-service to help their fellow man.

    • Dog Lover

      She means the dog is her precious “family member”, you numbskull !?*#?

    • Tom

      People who equate and compare dogs to children are the source of more suffering for animals and people alike than ANY other category. It’s a sickness. I work in rescue and these folks need to be spotted and watched carefully.

      • Pat Panek

        what rescue do you work with, Tom?

      • boon companion

        Tom, I am the 1st Selectman of Goon Town. We have an unelected panel of Expert Canines sent from the World Globe Canine Council First International. They have been assessing your weirdness from afar. They have a real nose for these things. After they “spotted” you, they determined that it would be best to chip you so that you can be “watched carefully.” It’s important that the citizens in my community feel safe. So I, as First Selectman, decided to put signs up on every pole. The signs say, YOU ARE SAFE FROM TOM. And all were comforted by the repetitive news.

      • Keats

        oh BS you work in rescue “Tom” – what a bunch of bunk.

      • Frank

        To all: From my research I see that the Town of Acton is a member of ICLEI, simply put, your paying dues to United Nations Agenda 21 global to local initiatives and your representatives are probably breeching the Constitution of The United States. The very fact that Agenda 21 calls for the changing of Human Nature and that you are devoting too much energy into the semantics of wether a dog is a child or like a child and forgetting about our Inailienable Rights as human being is disgusting.The fact that a by- law should be written to restrict a human who is grieving her lost dog, over your silly cosmetic environmental concern is plain wacky to me. Why don’t you just hire someone to cleanup the signs once a year and end the madness of these frivolous laws.

      • Alistair, San Diego

        Tom … I think you’re commenting on your OWN state of mind … thanks for sharing your misery.

      • Vicky Bevis

        I, too, work in rescue doing home studies for a breed-specific rescue group here in Ohio. I adored my kids & still do, but they are their parent’s children as they adore their pets also, but use common sense with them.

        Right now there is a couple in S.C. (my youngest) who is heart-broken at having their 2nd. try at adoption of an older , hard-to-place dog shot down due to incompatibility with their 2 kitties. But even with the heartbreak yesterday, they are already looking to find that hard-to-place older dog which they ALWAYS chose to adopt even though it means less time with their beloved “animal.”

        “Watch” them all you want; you could learn a serious lesson from them. ( We too only adopt OLDER dogs, too.)

    • Donna D

      I always take down signs in my community in Ohio about lost animals. It is illegal to post them and the law is the law. Find another way to look for your pets. When my dog was lost I never put up a sign I just kept looking till it was found. The signs look trashy.

      • Mike

        Donna, You sound pretty trashy. Please–don’t ever care for a pet and hope you aren’t entrusted with caring for a child.

    • Loadnabox

      Putting the value of a dog’s life on par with a child’s life just because “They -ARE- family not just like!” is ridiculous.

      So that means it’s ok to put out an amber alert every time a dog goes missing? National media coverage should be had if it’s gone for a couple days in the wilderness after getting lost on a camping trip?

      If you answered no then you have proven my point. They are NOT the same as kids.

      If you answered yes then you’re an idiot and should be locked up for the safety of society.

      • Loadnabox

        @JK Here’s a short list of comments that obviously anthropomorphise their dogs taken from the first page of comments:

        You wouldn’t hesitate if it was your child. Well, this is her child.

        she should be allowed whatever resourses[sic] to ensure the dog’s safety

        a lot of pet owners consider their pets as their “children”.

        It is comparable! We love our dog as much as we loved our kids

        Dogs are family

        why is it wrong to compare a dog with a child in this instance

        The only comparison that I can make to the pain that I am enduring from that loss IS the loss of a child.

        To some people, their dog is their kid. It’s just like adopting a child

        P.S. I didn’t need to look it up because I read plenty including other peoples comments before posting something that can easily be against my own argument.

      • JK

        Get ahold of yourself. You’re reading things that aren’t there. In my house, my dog is dependent on me for his care. I won’t abandon him because he’s sick or old or hungry. Putting up signs is a far cry from an Amber Alert. Now you are reading and quoting things that were never said or even implied. My dog has taught me a lot about human beings, things that you learn just by watching and paying attention. You don’t have the ability to do that. If you read what I said earlier, I do NOT anthropomorphize my dog. (look it up in the dictionary). That doesn’t preclude my ability to have a wonderful, happy relationship with a living being. He doesn’t talk English, but over time and with training you and your pet develop a system of communication. He knew the day my mom was dying even before the 7 people around her did.
        No I won’t even consider discussing a child’s amber alert with posting signage for a limited time for a missing pet.

    • kate

      Raised two fine sons. Never lost them, Thank God!
      After being married 32 years our little Cairn escaped the yard and was gone 2 days. We were literally heartbroken and couldn’t even talk. We just drove and walked for 2 days. That call monday morning from the vets office is a call I will never forget! FOUND! Needless to say, new tags (not just vet tags) with everything but our S>S> #’s on them! Give the woman a break. She simply loves her dog.

      • kate

        Thank God we found our dog, because I was really worried about my husband. He was so upset… and so was I! I hope you find your dog and everyone in the community should help you, if they have a heart. Prayers.

    • McSorley

      If this dog is as important to this women as a child then she should have gotten him chipped.

      • Pat Panek

        My dog, the one everyone thinks they know more about than me, IS CHIPPED. She has two microchips. She is not my child, but she is a member of my family. Don’t you people read, or do you just come on here to cause trouble? READ BEFORE YOU TYPE. Got it McSorley?

    • Ciindy

      What’s more important, the historic ‘view’ of the town or helping out one of the town’s citizen’s? Sturbridge is like this too and it is ridiculous. Are we living or trying to please the Martha Stewarts of the world? How else can others know the dog is missing if they don’t see what he looks like? Idiiots.

    • stanleycustom

      The Husky breed is noted for being break out artists and run aways.

    • dino

      This is NOT a child!

      • boon companion

        do you have Stepford children? The fact that this so-called Selectman didn’t want to sully his phony nobody colonial uber hygienic bric a brac Pleasant Ville is uncivilized. It is disgusting. It is low class. I’m not some PITA goon saying this. The guy has ice water in his veins. It is barbaric. Nobody cares what his lamp posts look like. He and the town are just not that important. He’s on a power trip. Typical bureaucrat.

        “Avoid petty laws and useless officials.” – Thomas Paine

      • JK.

        I didn’t say this was a child. To a person with no family or relatives, coming home every day to a wagging tail becomes a very personal bond. When equating a dog with a child – I am responsible for the dog’s health, behavior (training), exercise, food, and overall well-being. I can’t/don’t have kids. I’m not going to adopt. Why can’t a dog/cat be a substitute? It’s agonizing to know that your house pet is not safe where it could be and you are not able to take swift action to make that happen. A dog is not a human being, but to people who don’t have any remaining relatives, a dog is a perfect companion.
        It’s apparent you don’t have a close bond with your pet (it’s just a dog or just a cat) or don’t have a pet. If you worked at creating that bond, the payback is priceless.

    • Will

      The town should be sued. However, I disagree with this commenter who compares a dog with a child. That’s just wrong.

      • christine craft

        yes it’s wrong..the dog will always give you unconditional love.

      • george

        @jaygee: The only person who mentioned race, or interjected the topic into the comment, was you.

      • RICK RODEN

        will i respectfully disagree. she is not comparing a child to a dog, she is comparing a dog to a child, and that is simply not the same thing. as withthe child, she is responsible for the dog’s well being, and if the dog is endangered, she should be allowed whatever resourses to ensure the dog’s safety, as long as no one else is put to an inconvenience or in harm’s way. i see no insult in the analogy, we are all adults here and swhould have learned the ability to read between the lines many years ago.

      • Sammie Jo

        No it’s not, a lot of pet owners consider their pets as their “children”.
        You don’t have to, but because you don’t, doesn’t make it “wrong”.

      • The Blue Collar Man

        And, we all hope you never get a dog.

      • boon companion

        Will. That’s not “just wrong.” Dogs are family. Their loyalty and willingness to protect and care for you AND YOUR CHILDREN ESPECIALLY – unconditionally – can be in many profound ways, superior to humans. The Selectman is a lowlife philistine.

      • Reality Check

        Exactly correct, the individual posting as “JayGee” is obsessed with the race of the President of the United States.

        Get over it “JayGee” it does not matter if Obama is half black, or half white, or whatever.

        We can all agree he is our President and he is totally incompetent. That is more than enough for all of us to agree on.

      • Steven

        It’s not wrong. Why do people get so offended by that? To some people, their dog is their kid. It’s just like adopting a child. It may not be human but for some people it’s still their kid. I’m not sure why you morons have trouble with that.

      • Ruralhack

        The only thing that separates us from a dog is our ability to save knowledge externally. What we pass on externally as divided you from the common sense of a dog. You should be so lucky.

      • Bubba

        @boon companion:

        “Dogs are family. Their loyalty and willingness to protect and care for you AND YOUR CHILDREN ESPECIALLY – unconditionally – can be in many profound ways, superior to humans.”

        Apparently, Bridgett does not share in your line of reasoning…..if a dog could share any human’s line of reasoning that is.

      • Jim Dea

        Then you , sir, have never loved a dog. I recently (5 weeks ago) had to put down my lab mix that I rescued in 1999. The only comparison that I can make to the pain that I am enduring from that loss IS the loss of a child. I have shed tears every single day since then and actually tearing up right now thinking about him. My dog WAS my child and I am grieving over a loss the way one would grieve the loss of a child. Don’t underestimate the love that a dog can bring to someone; they bond with their owners in ways that are not fully known.

      • Keats

        why is it wrong to compare a dog with a child in this instance? Would you be suprised to find out the Town doesntt want those filthy posters cluttering up their Town with pictures of your lost kid too? Cuz there appeared to be no differentiation in the Town’s laws.

      • RUKIDDIN

        You are not a dog owner … else you’d say otherwise.

      • DoggoneIt

        Lost dogs now? So much of the news is made up after the coup and cover up. Unelected officials took over Washington and the media. They think you can’t handle the truth. Fact of the matter is we have no democracy, president, and freedom of press is an illusion.

        Our next election is shaping up to be as big of a sham as the last. Do you know why Sarah Palin’s bus tour was really canceled? Do you know why she stayed 30 miles away from the second debate and chose the death of Steve Jobs to announce that she’s not running? Know what leaked out? Sarah Palin and Cain aren’t in the race for the same reason, the truth leaked out. Search PalinsDirtyLittleSecret for the biggest cover up in history

      • scottksmith

        Sorry, Will, but you are dead WRONG !
        You have oviously never owned and TRULY LOVED a dog.
        I suspect you may also hjave “issues” with emotionally connecting with your family (if you even have one).

        My little Westie (white west highland terrier) is as much a part of my family as my wife and children. We love him dearly. You need to get a life !

      • desert

        It is comparable! We love our dog as much as we loved our kids….nothing strange there…….!

      • Lazybum

        JayGeeWhiz- And you know it is a Teaparty member because…? From YOUR post I can see you are a leftist leaning Commie because if someone has a different idea than yours you want them killed (OK-Now I see how this making up and inserting “facts” can be fun!)

      • HoboGreed

        Jaygee is just mad because they won’t let him put his FleaBagger tent in the park anymore.

      • jaygee

        Notice the comment from the racist with a “BirtherReport.com” label at the bottom of his idiotic post. Just another MadHatter from the Tea Party who can’t get over the fact that a black man is President. I have a feeling that anyone who would take the time to write such drivel has an elevator that doesn’t go to the top floor.


        My town won’t let me put up “A VILLAGE IN KENYA IS MISSING ITS IDIOT!” signs either – http://www.BirtherReport.com

    • Rob Cleary

      It’s vandalism.

  • Carroll

    Maybe the Acton local TV station would be able to help you post a message about your lost dog.Good Luck & don’t give up hope..

    • Amy Brown

      I am sorry for this behavior. When we lived in Springfield, Missouri,
      our beloved house dog, Lucky, a Yorkie, got outside. The witch neighbor called the Humane Society. I looked everywhere for my beloved dog and finally our vet told me that the Humane Society killed Lucky the day he was picked up. There is no reasoning with this kind of behavior. It is sick and reflects our society overall – its the same as what happened at WACO – no value is placed on human or animal life except for those in control. In springfield, they kill dogs by the vacuum method. I changed totally when I found out what happened. There is not a lot of goodness left in the world.

      • MJV

        Awwww…..why rush to put these blameless animals down without giving them the proper chance at survival? So sad, you have my sympathies!

  • Meghan Conetta

    Shame on this man! Clearly he’s never felt the distress this woman feels over a beloved pet!

  • Jules

    Mr Gower is currently running for Selectmen in town and asks his supporters to download a sign for his campaign. As a resident of Acton I would much prefer to see signs for lost pets then having to look at lawns plastered with political signs.

    His argument that it’s been a whole winter… The breed is HUSKY, they are made for the winter and there is plenty of wildlife to eat and fresh water to keep the dog well fed and hydrated.

    I will be keeping my eyes open for Bridget and I hope that she finds her way home soon!

    • Kay

      Not to mention it’s been one of the mildest winters in a long time.

  • Lauren

    Dogs have been known to survive years on their own, his comment is stupid and ignorant!

    • Carrie Jo

      Also, Husky’s are known for running. They are made for winter are very good at traveling over long distances. This dog is likely doing just fine save for being really dirty. I hope the owner gets her beloved dog back.

  • Pat Panek

    Hi Jim,

    I was very impressed with the piece about Bridgett. it was well edited and I want to thank you for bringing this to the public’s attention. It is causing quite a stir and more people are aware of Bridgett. She WILL be home soon. She has not been “taken in” and she is not “gone.” I know she is out there and I know the general area. We are close to bringing her home.
    One thing I do need to stress is that IF YOU SEE BRIDGETT, DO NOT APPROACH HER. she’s not aggressive but she is afraid of people. If you see her, please call me or email me asap. Bridgett was breeding stock for a puppy mill down south … she was bred every time she came into season for SIX years. She was kept in a large crate almost the entire time. She has trust issues and that is why it is so important that you DO NOT APPROACH her … that could cause her to run farther away. I didn’t get a chance to say that during the interview.

    Thanks again to Jim and Chuck … this has been a very positive experience for me and you two made it easy.

    • adarc

      Good luck finding her.

    • btruth

      good luck & power to you! I hope you get her back safely! All the animal lovers understand.

    • kate

      We are with you!

    • Carrie Jo

      I really hope you find her and bring her home.

  • BAC

    The selectman needs to check his facts before speaking…lost dogs can survive on their own for a very long time..this is clearly a regulation that needs to be changed..nothing is being sold and the signs are being monitored and maintained..thank you for covering this story

  • adarc

    Every neighbor should plant a sign about Bridget squarely in their yard ( like an election sign).
    In fact maybe Bridget should run for selectman.

    • Lauren

      This is a fantastic idea. I think people should do that very thing!

      • Pat Panek

        Bridgett has a FB page https://www.facebook.com/helpbringbridgetthome and under the scribd app on the left are different posters that can be printed out. Please stop by and visit her page and “Like” it if you are so inclined. Thanks :)

    • Pat Panek

      Wouldn’t that be something?

  • Bev C.

    Having been a resident of Acton and having worked for the Town for most of my adult life, I cannot agree more with Jules about preferring to see missing pet signs than the thousands of political signs all over town which are a real eyesore seeing rows of signs with the same names on them.

    I also agree wholeheartedly with Janet K. about this dog being the equivalent of a lost child to the owner and I can only imagine how distressing it must be to not know where Bridgett is and to not be allowed to post signs on a few busy corners to alert people to watch for the dog and make a simple phone call to help bring her home. This poor dog has suffered enough…help her owner find her! LET HER POST THE SIGNS! PLEASE…FOR DOG’S SAKE!

  • Cindy DeLong

    Mr. Gower needs to be educated about the survival of dogs. Hey did you know a dog was recovered and saved after 2 yrs. on the run, and through a very bad winter, being last year. Her name is “LANA.” I have heard there are many political signs up, so if a person monitors their signs and removes them and adds fresh ones, well why NOT. This kind woman just wants her dog home and is doing all she can. I watched the whole piece on Bridgett, thank you, just wish we saw more of Bridgett then the selectman. It’s sad to think that a pet owner has to do this just to make an attempt to get her canine friend home. Thank you WBZ for putting this story on. One more thing if you check in CT they have signs every where and no one is tearing them down, no one. More get put up on a regular basis and that lost dog is from MA. Here’s to Bridgett coming home.

  • Rob Cleary

    Why not just get another dog? This isn’t North Korea (yet), the damn things are available for free at thousands of shelters. Next time keep an eye on your property.

    • Sammie Jo

      OMG, I hope no animal is ever unlucky enough to end up in your world!
      If you have children and one of them turns up missing, don’t woryy, just run down to the local orphanage, you can get one of the damn things for free!

    • kate

      Shame on you Rob.


      And when someone kidnaps your child, why not just adopt another? No sweat!

    • Cameron

      I think we need another Rob Cleary since you are obviously defective.

    • lee

      i suggest you get yourself a New Companion.
      come to my house and i will take my taser and stick it in your chest.
      it wont cost you a dime, i promise

    • Kay

      FYI, they are NOT free from shelters. You obviously have never adopted an animal before. My dog cost $350 from the local shelter.

      • mjazz

        I got a Samoyed from a shelter for 5 bucks.

      • Phil

        Rob is just an idiotic troll, looking to cause trouble.

        Anyway, this article is linked on Drudge, so it’s sure to attract more mouth-breathers.

        The thing is, there actually are different perspectives on animal rescue depending on region. In New England, we actually have much lower shelter populations than there are in the south, and far lower stray populations. In fact, many of the shelters in New England (such as Save-A-Dog in Sudbury) get their dogs transported up from places like West Virginia and Georgia. Because of that, they have higher costs (many shelters around here will also microchip and / or spay/neuter dogs before they adopt them out), and that is often passed along as an adoption fee, which still generally does not cover the full cost of vets, vaccines, neutering, microchip, transportation, food, shelter, etc.

    • petem

      Don’t let LOSERS like Rob get you down. He’s a jerk with a capital J.
      The other day he thought it was funny to make an anti-Semitic joke about the fires in Situate.

      Go away Rob, no one needs your type here (or anywhere for that matter)

    • Lauren

      Wow, Rob, are you running for selectman too? It’s easy to make comments like that from behind a computer screen, isn’t it?
      You obviously are a heartless person if you can not see that this “damn thing” is not a thing at all, but a member of someone’s family. How dare you even make a comment like that. Go back into the hole you crawled out of and mind your business

    • Pat Panek

      Do you always wake up this happy in the morning? Thanks for your compassion and understanding. I am very careful with my animals and consider her part of my family and NOT PROPERTY. I hope your comment has enhanced your day iin some way. It sure was an eye-opener. Have a good one Rob Cleary. PLEASE never go to one of those shelters and get one of those “damn things … for free.”

      • MaryAnn

        My daughter has retrieved two dogs now from a shelter. They both have turned out quite well. Well mannered and behavior. I would not mind having one like she was able to get. She would go on the internet and check the shelters. Both dogs are bigger dogs. I would not hesitate getting a shelter dog only check out the shelter first. Mark Levin, noted book writer, always gets his dogs from a shelter also.

  • Jessica

    It’s so nice to see so many nice comments and support for someone who lost their dog. Losing a dog can happen to anyone and especially as Pat stated, a dog like Bridget was a breeding dog in a puppy mill for 6 years before Pat rescued her. She had a horrible life before. But apparently Rob has never had a house pet who he loves and cares for. There’s always one bad apple in the bunch.

    Pat – Lots of people are here to support you. And Bridgett will come home!

    Any lost dog you ever see please never chase. Dogs who get lost after a few days can become feral-like because they are in survival-mode. Calling their name or chasing them will only drive them out of their comfort zone. Best to call the number of the lost dog if you have it or get down low to the ground with some food and no eye contact with the dog. Check out Granite State Dog Recovery if you want to help locate dogs in your area or need help finding your lost dog. http://www.granitestatedogrecovery.com. They are on facebook too.

    Bridgett – it’s time to come home. Your mom misses you!

    • Nab71

      Granite State Dog recovery is doing a nice job trying to capture a Sheltie in Dunstable, too. It can be a frustrating process, but at least the posters are allowed there, and there have been many sightings as a result. Keep your chin up, sometimes it takes many months.

      If Mr. Gower gets lost what is the limit for search time? After all he is simply a dumb animal.

      • Pat Panek

        I hope this doesn’t end up being a duplicate response. I did reply a little while ago, but it must be floating around in cyberspace.

        Granite State Dog Recovery, with the help of Martha Boynton, is doing a wonderful job trying to get Skipper, the sheltie. Ironically, I made some of the posters you see in Dunstable … glad to help out. I am also glad that they are allowed to be seen. There have been many sightings of this little guy and I believe he will be safe again very soon.

        I know not to give up. Bridgett is out there. She has been sighted. She is not running around all over the place anymore and she will be home SOON! :)

    • Pat Panek

      Hi Jessica, such a nice post. Thank you and thanks for pointing out Granite State Dog Recovery and for the very clear instructions on what to do if you come in contact with a lost dog.

      I agree, Bridgett it is time to come home. We are so close to making that happen and I miss you more than I can say. Dogs are unique individuals and not replaceable … they are not paper towels.

  • Julie Busa

    I found it outrageous that Acton allows political signs to be posted all over their town, but not signs for someone’s lost family member. Town officials should be ashamed of themselves…

    • Pat Panek

      In all fairness to Acton, they don’t “allow” signs they grant permission for a fee. That is my understanding, anyway. I think their by-laws are too numerous, contradictory, and confusing to be understood. I have tried to be respectful and ask for owner permission before putting up a sign … some of those are even taken down. I make it clear to anyone granting me permission that they could be fined and that I will gladly pay that fine, should that happen.

  • Pat Panek

    PLEASE REMEMBER THAT BRIDGETT IS OUT THERE. DO NOT CHASE IF SEEN. iFshe is in a precarious situation call the local police or animal control officer. The police would be able to respond more quickly initially. If you don’t have my contact information, it is readily available on her FB page: https://www.facebook.com/helpbringbridgetthome She even has a QR code for the tech savvy out there. Please visit her page and learn more about her and the search efforts on her behalf. I am crazy about my dog, but I am not insane. :)



    • Pat Panek

      I also replied to this earlier. Thank you, Annoula, for letting me know about this dog in Sudbury. I know that it is not Bridgett because she has BROWN eyes, not blue. But I still thank you for taking the time to contact me and for caring. This dog you saw belongs to someone and sounds like it is loved. I hope he/she is home safely and soon. Bridgett is close to being safe again. She will be home SOON. I believe that with my whole heart. You did a great thing by contacting me. If you come across that dog or another lost dog, it is important that you do NOT TRY TO CATCH IT. They are very scared and might run even farther away. Call the police or Animal control. I will be praying that the Sudbury Husky is home soon!

  • Deanna

    Unreal, my dog has been in NJ since 10/6/10, this past winter was so mild, so glad you got this story out! We also still get sightings and are still hopeful to have our Spinone Gina home soon! Good luck and may we all have our dogs back !

    • Pat Panek

      Oh, I will pray that she is home soon. How great that you are still having sightings, but so sad that she has been out there for a year and a half.

  • Vicki

    Mr. Gowling.. you better get some information on the resiliency of a dog.. And signs do help.. because the more eyes out there to find the dog the better.. (do you think those political signs are attractive ? or the ones advertising for tax preparations? come on now , this dog is so close .. you need to know the proper procedure in retreiving a family pet.. It has happened.. ask the dog owners that have gotten their dogs back after 6 months or l8 months or even more time.. go to Granite State Dog Recovery facebook page and read about all the success stories.. Pat just wants her dog home.. and she needs all the help she can get.. starting with flyers.. If any of my dogs went missing I would hope I have the support of my neighborhood and city I live in….

    • Pat Panek

      I think after all of the feedback this report has generated, he will educate himself on such things. Thank you Vicki for your comments. I do agree with you and I think your last sentence is SUPER STRONG. Well said.

  • Susan

    We have been trying to catch a lost dog in Maine since September…He is still out there in need of rescue as we have sighting reports and video of him from as recently as last night! This selectman does not have a clue about how long dogs can survive and elude. He is not helping his re-election campaign by being so thoughtless and uncaring.

    • Pat Panek

      Oh, I do hope your get him soon. Have you contacted Granite State Dog Recovery? They help lost dogs come home, mostly in New England. They are a great resource for getting the dog’s information out there. They have around 5600 fans and that is a lot of information sharing. You can find them on the internet AND on facebook. Good luck and so glad you have seen the dog on video as recently as last night. Do you have feeding station set up in that area?

  • Lived It

    Well I do hope this dog is found safe……………..and soon! I love all the support from the animal lovers and the community in times like this but people need to understand that an animal and a child are not the same! Parents are supposed to leave this world before their children. It is misguided to compare the loss of a pet to the loss of a child.

    • Pat Panek

      Emotional connections are very strong in both cases. I am a mother and I agree there is a difference, BUT Bridgett is a huge part of this household and a member of my family. She just so happens to have fur and I love her dearly. I hope you got your animal back and that it was in good condition. It’s always great to hear a success story!

  • JQ

    Pat, I sincerely hope you find Bridgett soon. I too am disappointed in the selectmans attitude but, more importantly, I am still trying to figure out what historic look and feel they are worried about destroying with a lost dog sign. Boggles my mind.

    • Pat Panek

      Mine too. Some people consider those signs a blight on the landscape, I guess. Perhaps the Colonials didn’t have pets? I know they didn’t have florescent poster board … maybe tea stained posters are the way to go. ;)

  • Janet K.

    I beg to differ on the last post. If you have no family and no children a dog can be the equivalent of a child – it is a warm-blooded, living mammal. While they don’t speak words, humans and their pets have learned to create a means of communication that they understand. When you’ve lived with a pet for 10, 12 years or even 6 months, the thought of something bad happening to a four-footed fur kid is horrifying. You feed them, care for them when hurt (injured), take care of their medical needs and exercise. Having a dog is like living with a perpetual toddler.
    My dog is a dog – and gives me something to laugh and smile about every day. I don’t anthropomorphize him. He’s much better than some people and, certainly better than the poster Rob. He can read people much better than we read each other.
    If you can’t put a sign on your lawn, what’s to prevent you from attaching signs to cars and on your houses or in your windows? Pat – you may want to contact Debbie at lostdogsearch.com here in MA. She helped us set traps to catch a friend’s dog on the run in Sudbury for a coupleof months. Lots of great info on her web site. You can borrow traps from animal control and shelters. They have to be monitored. But once you establish your girl’s route you can place them strategically and increase the odds of bringing her home. Good luck. Thanks to WBZ for posting this and shame on the town of Acton for their archaic short-sightedness. I hope everyone calls Jim at speaks their mind. His phone number is posted on his web site.

    • Lived It

      If you have no family and no children…..then you don’t know. I am sure you are wonderful pet owner (parent to your dog) and a wonderful person. The difference between losing a pet and losing a child are so far apart. Humans can have, love, cherish ,enjoy and lose several pets over the course of life. It is natures way……………..we live longer. The loss of a child is a devastating event in ones life that changes a person forever. A new pet can not replace lost one but can fill a void in a persons life. The loss of a child is…………………………..

      Pat I sincerely hope you and Bridgett are reunited very soon!

      • Pat Panek

        Thank you. I have experienced both, the death of a child and the loss of a beloved pet. I recently had to have a cat put down, have had that experience too. I am not saying that they all equate, but what I am saying is that the pain is intense in either regard. Bridgett is someone I chose to include in my family. I adopted her, worked with her to establish a bond, wanted her to feel safe and secure and loved. Knowing that she is out there scared, and alone, and in danger gnaws at me. She is NOT dead; that would require a different kind of closure. I feel intensely the loss of this dog. I am a mother. I know that bond, too. I have to agree with Janet that having a dog is like living with a toddler in many ways. I love my pets completely. Having lost a child, it is unnatural. It’s crushing and something that stays with you forever. I worry about Bridgett because she is out there and fending for herself and darting in front of cars and watching out for coyotes. I won’t defend the love I have for my dog. It does not diminish the love I have for my kids, living or dead.

    • Pat Panek

      Hi Again … you stated this perfectly. Thank you. For me, it is gut wrenching to have my girl out there scared and alone and in danger. I think I have been to the website you mentioned. I have had the help of Granite State Dog Recovery. they have loaned me a trap, which is now being used to bring a Sheltie in while Bridgett is settling down. They have also loaned me a trail camera which I’ve used on several occasions. I am hoping to set up a feeding station today in the area she has been spotted most. I know she will not go into a traditional trap … traumatic because of her history. Granite State has a trap they made called a Gypsy Trap and that is a definite possibility. Thanks so much for all of your comments, Janet.

  • Linda

    post your flyers at feed and seed stores and pet stores and store bulletin boards like gas stations. hopefully that will help.

    • Pat Panek

      thanks … have done some of that, but in Acton that is not allowed … the owner could be fined.

      • Linda

        agggh you’re kidding? I could see out on the street and on telephone poles but at store bulletin boards, that’s rediculous

  • Lisa Dingle

    I’m so glad the media picked up on this. I am so tired of rules being written that treat everyone the same – often targeting the harshest “offenders” and taking away the ability for those who do the RIGHT thing to actually do the RIGHT thing. If people put up the signs for Bridgett in their yards and are told they don’t comply because they aren’t ‘political’, make sure they are changed to “Bridgett for Selectman” (with a huge picture of her and your phone number of course, in case she is seen!) and have the dog run against the current Selectman! Pat, I’m over in Dunstable and am working with Martha on finding Skipper. I see the signs up and down High Street and on Main as well. They are perfect. Martha has had sightings and calls (due to these signs) and we are narrowing our search. The signs have made a HUGE difference. Thank you for coming over to put them up.

  • Pat Panek

    Hi Lisa,

    I know you are working with Martha over there. I didn’t put up the signs, she did. I made them and am so glad they are working. I laughed out loud at your suggestion for Bridgett “political” signs and might just do that. LOL. Selectman Gowing, she is tough competition. Any luck with Skipper today?

    • Lisa Dingle

      Not yet but we are narrowing. The neighbors have been great :)

    • Paul Revere


      Please notice that your town Acton, MA is a member of ICLEI (sustainable development) AGENDA 21…This has more to do with controlling the people/sheeple thru bogus zoning/rules/regulations and approach a more broader subject that people need to WAKE UP about. Good luck in finding your furry friend. Mike Gowing is only a STOOGE for the Agenda 21 folk…DONT BE FOOLED

  • jennifer taylor

    What amazes me is that the town would rather have dogs running loose than have signs up to help get the lost dogs home.

    • Pat Panek

      Hi Jennifer, undoubtedly that was the way it was done in Colonial times … the historical aspect and all. Great observation.

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