Dog owners who let pets run wild in Preston Cemetery urged to ‘show more respect’

A grieving family has asked dog walkers to show more respect by not allowing their pets to run wild in Preston Cemetery.

By Brian Ellis
Monday, 30th May 2022, 10:12 am

The plea comes after relatives of a 66-year-old mum found paw prints on her soil-topped grave and dog dirt on another close by.

Daughter Kerry Southworth, a solicitor, said: "It's incredibly distressing that people allow their animals to do this in a place like a cemetery.

"We go to mum's grave every day and we see it happening all the time. They need to show more respect."

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Kerry's mother, who lived in Deepdale, died six weeks ago and was buried in the cemetery where her grandparents are also interred.

"Mum's grave still has sandy soil on top and so it's obvious when a dog has walked over it," she said. "They leave paw prints.

"Every day we have to sweep the soil to get rid of the marks and that's really upsetting.

Kerry is urging dog owners to show more respect.

"Last weekend we went to the grave and we saw someone's do walk over it. I asked them 'would you mind not doing that?'

"His view was it was OK to do it because his parents were buried in the cemetery and he wouldn't mind a dog walking over their grave.

"There are plenty of signs up telling people to keep off the grass, but no-one seems to take any notice of them.

"It is disrespectful to not only the person in the grave, but also the family of that person who get incredibly upset like we do. "

Preston Cemetery is used by scores of do owners to exercise their pets.

Kerry says she contacted the Preston Council cemetery office to check out the rules.

"They say they are doing their best, but they just can't stop people because the place is so big and so spread out.

"I get what they are saying because it is a huge cemetery and they can't be everywhere.

"So I just want to ask people to please be respectful. Remember where you are and try and imagine what the people whose loved ones are buried in those graves might be feeling.

"We are already going through so much, trying to process the grief of losing a loved one. To see this is just making that worse."

A Preston City Council spokesperson said: “It’s upsetting and disappointing to hear of dog owners allowing their pets to behave in this way at any location, let alone a space to pay respects, peace and reflection.

“There is a Public Space Protection Order in place at the Cemetery requiring that dog owners act responsibly, pick up after their pets and keep them on leads at all times.

"In the past, when any staff have challenged people on this they are often met with verbal abuse and threats, which is not acceptable.

“The council takes this behaviour seriously and anyone caught failing to abide by elements in the order face a fine or fixed penalty notice.”