(PCM) It is a horror story come to life for individuals who have buried their beloved pets in the pet cemetery at the Delaware SPCA. The Stanton branch of the Delaware SPCA has recently closed down their Stanton location and are in the process of making a sale on the large 21-acre property, however there is one major issue. There are over 1,000 pets and animals buried on the property which is where owners believed was to be their pet’s final resting place.
Due to the proposed construction and renovation of the property, the SPCA told several pet owners that they had only until the end of the month to remove their pet’s headstones and if they choose, exhume the remains and relocate them to another location. Yes, that is as gruesome as it sounds. Already, several individuals have visited the property and made an attempt to dig up their animals, however due to the amount of time that has passed and other external conditions some of the animals buried in the cemetery can not be located.
In fact, even the Delaware police force cannot located the remains of “Captain”, the county’s very first police dog. Also buried in the cemetery are the remains of “Igloo” a bear from the local Brandywine Zoo, a goat named “Minnie Pearl” and a pair of poodles named “Brigitte and Babette”. Here’s where things take an even creepier and more problematic turn for the Delaware SPCA, as it has also been reported that there may in fact be human remains buried on the property as well.
It seems that a woman named Miss Ligon had her ashes interred on the property so that her final resting place would be near her beloved dog, a Border Collie named “Lady”. Miss Ligon was a nationally recognized sculptor and an avid dog lover. When “Lady” passed away in 1973 she was buried in the the Delaware SPCA pet cemetery, according to a pet cemetery contract that was unearth by the Delaware News Journal. The New Journal also went on to uncover notes from a 1980 board meeting which approved Miss Ligons’ ashes to be interred in the cemetery.
The Delaware SPCA claims to have“no knowledge of any human remains on our Stanton property”, however most of the evidence points to Miss Ligon being buried alongside her pet, as she had no living relatives at the time of her death in 1980. Pet cemeteries are not regulated by federal or state governments because animal remains are considered “solid waste” under Delaware law. But human cemeteries fall under the state’s authority and that could be a game changer for any plans the Delaware SPCA had for selling the property. If it turns out that a human is buried on the property, the SPCA would need to register that specific plot as a cemetery and follow a new set of protocol for exhuming the remains and relocating them.
Individuals who have been visiting the property for more information and to make an attempt at relocating their pets were being turned away by the guard on-site and told to contact the Delaware SPCA board or Georgetown location by phone. Thus far the Delaware SPCA has not returned any phone calls or commented about the issue, which has been absolutely heartbreaking for pet owners.
There is currently an online petition beginning to pick up steam, as pet owners want answers and would like to prevent the sale and save the building and surrounding pet cemetery. It has already reached over 2,000 signatures and continues to grow. Many pet owners who have buried their animals at the Delaware SPCA pet cemetery also claim that the Delaware SPCA is in breach of contract, as they have signed documents that prove “the Delaware SPCA guarantees continued use and upkeep of the grave site for the period of twenty-five (25) years.” That particular contract was signed in 1998, however the shelter stopped the pet burial process about 10 years ago.
In the immortal words of The Ramones: