HUDSON, Ohio -- For 70 years, Boston Mills Pet Memorial Park on Walters Road in Hudson has been the final resting place for thousands of beloved animals, but a civil lawsuit filed in Summit County Common Pleas Court is now threatening to shut it down.
Over 14,000 animals are buried at the 13-acre non-denominational cemetery, including a special section for service dogs and K-9 officers.
People with the Friends of Pet Cemetery Association say their troubles started last year after John and Patricia Roman purchased the property adjacent to the cemetery.
John Roman told Fox 8 News that he understood the land came with certain restrictions because it was once part of the cemetery, but he believed certain provisions could help lift the restrictions, making it a “workable” situation.
A veterinarian who lived at the house back in 1945 started the cemetery after allowing some of his patients to be buried in his front yard. Twelve graves remain there to this day, but John Roman wants them relocated.
He is also seeking sole ownership and access to two buildings that straddle the properties, because he claims they are listed on his documentation and property taxes.
The lawsuit also alleges that the cemetery is violating Summit County Environmental Health code, specifically the improper disposal of dead animals.
According to court records, they claim the animals are buried too close to sources of water, not set back far enough off the road and that they have buried uncremated remains.
“I’m not trying to shut them down," said John Roman. "I just want them to follow the law.”
But Vivian Kloak, who works at the cemetery, says the assertions are absolutely false and that the cemetery adheres to laws and regulations with the approval of Hudson City Officials.
She says the cemetery was established prior to current regulations, and therefore any seemingly questionable grave sites are legal because of the grandfather clause; and therefore “permitted to remain.”
“I see it as an awesome standout for the city of Hudson,” said Vivian. “They want all of this removed and bulldozed.”
Vivian says they will fight to save the cemetery no matter what it takes.
The 501c3 organization has started a GoFundMe.com account to help with the legal expenses.