Tina Muirhead-Walden shows her support for the dinosaur cause by installing an inflatable in her yard. (Courtesy: Tina Muirhead-Walden)

Today, Dunwoody is becoming “Dinowoody,” thanks to an outpouring of community support as residents erect inflatables to support the Torres family’s fight to keep their yard decorations from going extinct.

Lisa Torres, whose family has been posting holiday-themed dinosaurs and inspiring messages since 2020, had originally been told by the city of Dunwoody the inflatables needed to be deflated by Sept. 20 because of a complaint by a single person that they were in violation of the city’s sign ordinance.

The family has been given a reprieve for 30 days while the city tries to find a compromise that will let them remain.

Not willing to rest on that possibility, the community rallied to support the cause on Sept. 21, installing dozens of inflatables in their yards. Dinosaurs have appeared in the Waterford, Holly Oak, Dunwoody North and other subdivisions, along with encouraging messages posted on various social media outlets.

A dinosaur on Heatherdale Lane was installed on Sept. 21, joining dozens of other inflatables around the city. (Photo: Cathy Cobbs)

Torres said she and her family are overwhelmed by the show of support for the dinosaurs.

“It’s just so stinking cute,” Torres said. “The community has come together, and we are so grateful.”

Because of the extension, Torres said she and her husband, Cesar, were able to proceed with their Halloween display, which went up the same day that the inflatables were originally to be taken down.

Thanks to the city’s extension, the Torres family was able to erect Halloween inflatables. (Photo: Cathy Cobbs)

“I told the boys yesterday that Leo [the large T-rex that had been in their yard for their back-to-school display] was coming down, and my son said, ‘I thought you said we defeated the Grinch,’ and I said, ‘We did and now we can put up our Halloween display.’”

She said her children, Coby, 6, and Rex, 3, have realized that dinosaur displays’ significance has progressed far beyond their front yard.

“They used to think it was for them, but now they realize that it’s not theirs anymore,” she said. “They are sharing the dinosaurs with the world.”

“They love seeing people’s reactions, and tell me all the time, ‘Look Mom, they like that one’ or ‘that dinosaur is that little girl’s favorite.’”

Torres said the message on the front of the Halloween display, “U R Spooktacular,” is for the hundreds of supporters “to let them know how much they appreciate them.”

She declined to comment on how much the family has spent on their inflatables, but said, “It was a painless expense.”

“You can’t buy a smile or happiness, but you can buy dinosaurs.”

Cathy Cobbs covers Dunwoody for Reporter Newspapers and Rough Draft Atlanta. She can be reached at cathy@roughdraftatlanta.com