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Some no-pet signs come down in Huntington

Herald-Dispatch photo by Sholten Singer A man walks his dog in Pullman Square on Tuesday, June 10, 2014, in downtown Huntington.
Herald-Dispatch photo by Sholten Singer
A man walks his dog in Pullman Square on Tuesday, June 10, 2014, in downtown Huntington.

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — On Monday, several signs appeared around Pullman Square stating no pets or live animals were allowed in the outdoor shopping plaza.

By Tuesday morning, the signs had all disappeared.

The signs incited a social media backlash that had come to the attention of Bill Dargusch by Monday night. Dargusch, of Metropolitan Partners in Columbus, Ohio, which developed and manages the shopping center at the heart of downtown Huntington, ordered the signs to be removed.

“We had some bad verbage on the signs,” Dargusch said Tuesday. “We had some people bringing exotic animals down and were having some problems.”

Dargusch said a man with a parrot that would put the bird on people’s heads or arms and ask for money had been the source of some complaints. Another man frequently brought a snake to the shopping center, he said.

“We don’t want people down there with animals that will scare children,” he said. “Birds and snakes can scare the bejesus out of people.”

Dargush added that one exotic animal owner who frequented Pullman Square was implicated in the theft of a tip jar from Starbucks.

The shopping center is built around a grassy area with benches that offers a park-like feel, and pets have been part of the environment since the beginning.

The pet ban would have allowed service animals, but Dargush said the shopping center’s policy is that pets are welcome within reason.

“We love dogs on leashes,” he said. “We just ask that people use some common sense.”

There are some that think a pet ban isn’t such a bad idea…

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