Volunteers struggling to revive neglected pet cemetery - WNEM TV 5

Volunteers struggling to revive neglected pet cemetery

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)
BANGOR TOWNSHIP, MI (WNEM) -

A local pet cemetery is falling into disrepair.

Families who buried their animals in the Bay County Pet Cemetery are furious and want to know why the property has been neglected.

People tried to help maintain the property, but they only made it worse.

Bill Sexton is well aware of the challenges the cemetery goes through. He spent the summer of 2015 cleaning it up after his daughter begged him to volunteer his landscaping business.

Two years later he's not surprised to hear someone destroyed thousands of dollars of head stones while trying to mow over-grown weeds.

Sexton said it's a tough job to manage and years of neglect have caused the stones to sink.

"There's just blocks for headstones. So when you're doing this you can't see them," Sexton said.

The weeds are more than 4 feet tall and make it impossible to clean up in one day.

TV5 took the tough questions to Bangor Township Supervisor Glenn Rowley. He said no one technically owns the property.

With no one maintaining the cemetery, an unknown caretaker stepper forward to offer his services.

"I don't have the man power to maintain the properties that the township actually owns. So when I had somebody come forward and say 'hey I want to do this.' We were ecstatic," Rowley said.

TV5 reached out to the man taking responsibility for the cemetery, but has not heard back. However, he posted his goals for the property on Facebook.

The new caretaker said he is just trying to clean it up, but volunteers said he did more damage than good.

Sarita Bills volunteers her weekends cleaning up the pet cemetery since she buried her dogs there.

After her mower and weed whacker broke, the property became overgrown and in need of more volunteers.

She took the time to mark out each grave site to prevent this sort of damage.

"It was really heartbreaking to see someone just mowed right through and went and destroyed so much and so many years of work," Bills said.

Despite her disappointment, Bills hopes an organization can buy the property to prevent accidents like this in the future.

Sexton wants to begin volunteering again, but until the fight for ownership ends the future of the cemetery is up in the air.

"I hope somebody can take this thing over and get this thing organized. So it's you know, where it should be," Sexton said.

Rowley said because the township doesn't own the property he is not sure it can be sold.

He said the group that previously owned the cemetery no longer exists so the township is exploring its options on how to fix the situation.

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