“We don’t want them to remove the stones”


SWATARA TOWNSHIP, Pa. (WHTM) – Charles and Linda Stauffer are animal lovers and consider their pets to be family. When their animals died, they honored their memory by burying them at the Humane Society of Harrisburg Area Animal Cemetery in Swatara Township, Dauphin County.

“We buried them in a cemetery to find out where they are. We want to come here and visit and bring flowers, ”Linda said.

The Stauffers say they often visit the cemetery. They spent over $ 3,100 on gravestones, coffins and plots, so when they heard changes were happening at the cemetery, they got worried.

“They removed all the stones that were in {the oldest section}. The stones were from at least the 1940s, ”said Linda.

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The Stauffers are concerned that their pet’s headstones will be removed as well. They have three flat headstones for their cats and one vertical stone for Linda’s dog.

“We don’t want them to remove the stones. We want to know where our pets are, ”Charles said. “We are not satisfied with it. “

The Humane Society declined to comment. It showed that letters from investigators abc27 were sent to people whose plots are affected by a project rolling to the cemetery.

The letters indicated that the sinkholes throughout the cemetery posed a safety hazard, and in order to resolve the issue, the grave markers were permanently removed, but the burial grounds would not be disturbed. The letters also indicated that there were plans for a memorial wall to honor the pets.

This isn’t the answer the Stauffers were hoping for, but they said they heard from the Humane Society.

“They tell us where our stones are will not be {affected} until 2022,” Charles said.

According to the Stauffers, the Humane Society has also said it is willing to work with them if it can.

“They offered to possibly keep our cat stones,” Linda said.

It is not clear whether the vertical stone for Linda’s dog will need to be removed.

Are pet cemeteries regulated?

According to a spokesperson for the Agriculture Ministry, it regulates the disposal of pets and sets guidelines for burial sites, but it has no control over pet cemeteries.

The Pennsylvania State Department regulates conventional cemeteries, but it did not know of a comprehensive regulatory agency for pet cemeteries.

This is up to the local municipality and whether it has codes or regulations for pet cemeteries. The Humane Society is in Swatara Township. According to the director of the Building & Codes Department, the property is located in the Limited Manufacturing District and does not require a permit to fill the sinkholes. It would be considered part of the routine maintenance work of the property.

According to the township, there is no local code or ordinance that would prohibit building above the cemetery if the property were to be sold in the future.

If you are purchasing land at a pet cemetery, ask if there is a contract that sets out the terms and conditions of the cemetery.

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