Local News

Family cemetery in Wilson being used as dog pen

Posted July 31, 2015

— Eugenia Wade’s great-grandfather and aunts are buried in a small family plot off N.C. Highway 42 in Wilson.

But she recently noticed dog igloos placed among the headstones and holes dug in the ground.

Someone had purchased the property and fenced it in for use as a dog pen.

"I looked in the backyard and saw those dogs inside that pen, and I almost jumped out of the car going down the road because I was so upset,” she said. “I mean, you just don’t put a dog pen on top of a cemetery.”

Wade said she first noticed the dogs in the cemetery about six weeks ago and called the Wilson County Sheriff's Office.

A deputy went out, she said, and asked the property owner to remove the dogs.

“And they told him they would, but that was weeks ago and absolutely no movement has been made to disassemble or move,” she said.

Wade has pictures showing cracked headstones and torn-up dirt. She said it’s evidence of dogs being dogs.

It's their owners, she said, who are displaying no dignity.

“It’s a total lack of respect for the dead and the living,” she said.

When a WRAL News reporter and photographer accompanied Wade to the property Friday, a man approached and told them to leave.

“Y’all are acting like we’re bad people,” said the man, who wouldn’t give his name. “We plan on moving it. We didn’t know it was a problem. Anytime you wanted to come visit, you were more than welcome to visit.”

The Wilson County District Attorney's Office said it is aware of Wade's complaint and is investigating.


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  • Timmy Strickland Aug 2, 2015
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    He can be charged for defacing a cemetary

  • Julie Stout Aug 1, 2015
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    Our property has a cutout specifically for a family cemetery belonging to the people that owned all the land nearby. It's sad that, in the story's case, it wasn't exempted from the land deal. I can promise that if the cemetery was included as ours, we'd maintain it and make sure family members had easy access to it.

    Otherwise, the cemetery is already fenced-in here. Was it previously fenced and the new owners said, "here's a fenced in area, let's put the dogs in there?" Or did the new owners actually decide to put a dog enclosure there? Two different things, although I hate it for the people with loved ones buried there.

  • Mike Hill Aug 1, 2015
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    There is what is known as common decency. Legally the owners do not have to do anything, but morally they should remove the dogs and work with the relatives to restore the cemetery. But this is a hard lesson, when you sell your property it is not yours to do with anymore.

  • Elizabeth Ewing Aug 1, 2015
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    Not a lack of respect on the dogs part. The owner of the land and the dogs should have realized when purchasing the property that the family still visited the cemetery and never placed the pen on top of the cemetery. That shows a lack of respect for not only the living family members but the memories of the dearly departed. The pen should be removed at once before any more damage to the stones and gravesites is done. Or the owners could deed the area of the property where the cemetery is located to one or more of the living family members. They don't have to continue to be disrespectful.

  • Kerry Harpe Aug 1, 2015
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    The dog owners do own the land. Seems if they didn't want the land to used as anything other than a cemetery, then they should not have sold it.

  • Caitlin Stevens Jul 31, 2015
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    I can't believe the dogs have such little respect.

  • Joey Cuddington Jul 31, 2015
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    This is a new low in sorriness. These folks should be ashamed of themselves...

  • Derril Salter Jul 31, 2015
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    That cemetery should have never been part of a real estate transaction. I don't get it. Obviously the new owners don't care about.

  • Karen Phillips Jul 31, 2015
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    Special laws for North Carolina cemeteries
    Read more at http://www.wral.com/family-cemetery-in-wilson-being-used-as-dog-pen/14805281/#m6zaYqOPrB0zdTIb.99

    Great information! Thanks!

  • Roy Hinkley Jul 31, 2015
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    I was unaware someone can buy a cemetery like that.