Should Dogs be Allowed in Cemeteries?

Should dogs be allowed in cemetaries is a contentious subject wherever you live in the world. Cemetaries can be hosts to a pouring out of strong emotions by loved ones of the deseased. Or they can be places of quiet comtemplation by families and the public. The sight of a dog unleashed, going to toilet here and there can understandibly rile human visitors whom see it as a lack or respect by the owners. In some locations large fines can be bestowed on the rule breakers. Should dogs be allowed in cemetaries? Let’s look at the emotive arguments for and against. Firstly, let’s look at the actual rules in some countries, whether dogs are allowed in cemetaries.

Are Dogs Allowed In American Cemeteries?

Cemeteries are allowed to make their own regulations when it comes to dogs being allowed in cemeteries. A reccurring point of thumb is that dogs should always be kept on a leash and their poop quickly and efficiently picked up. However it’s adviseable to check the website or call the cemetery you are thinking of visiting.

Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA for soldiers who have served the country, falls in the camp that is strictly against dogs being allowed in their cemetery unless they are service animals.

Should Dogs be Allowed in Cemeteries?
Should Dogs be Allowed in Cemeteries?

Are Dogs Allowed in UK Cemeteries?

In Manchester it’s illegal for dogs to be allowed in cemeteries. The Manchester Evening News recently reported:

A clampdown has now been ordered by the council, with £50 on-the-spot fines for owners. More enforcement officers are being posted to cemeteries to try to catch offenders in the act and action will also be taken against people reported by cemeteries staff. Grieving relatives visiting the resting place of their loved ones at Dukinfield cemetery are regularly having to step around dog muck left behind by owners.”

Manchester Evening news

High Gate cemetery in London insists that ‘No dogs allowed apart from assistance animals’.
Kensal Green cemetery, London states: ‘To protect the graves, fauna and flora, PLEASE NO DOGS in the Cemetery’.

Are Dogs Allowed In Canadian Cemeteries?

In Canada most cemeteries state dogs ARE allowed though they must be kept safetly on a leash.

Beechwwod Cemetery Ottawa states that, ‘Dogs on leashes are only permitted in the cemetery on roadways and
walkways. We ask that all owners respect the sanctity of the cemetery grounds, keep their dogs off grassed areas and clean up after their dogs. Howver, they also state any rule breaking will be met by expulsion from the grounds with a final warning: ‘The cemetery is not a dog park’.

Ottawa Avenue cemetery echos those sentiments though also warns about dog mess: ‘Pets must be restrained by a leash at all times and owners are required to pick up waste left by their pets. Failure to comply with general rules may result in a person being denied entry onto Cemetery property’.

Are Dogs Allowed In Australian Cemeteries?

Australian rules places the final decision with each cemetery trust whereby permission must be sought to take a dog inside the walls of a cemetery. Fines can be finacially severe compared with other countries.

Schedule 2 – Model Rules – 14 Entry of animals into a cemetery
A person must not allow any animal other than a dog to enter into or remain in a cemetery without the approval
of the cemetery trust.Schedule 2 – Model Rules – 15 Control of animals in a cemetery
(1) A person who brings a dog or, in accordance with rule 14, any other animal into a cemetery for the purpose
of recreation, visiting a place of interment or attendance at a funeral ceremony must keep that dog or other
animal under immediate control at all times. Fine $1,652

Australian Government Cemetery regulations

Should Dogs Be allowed In Cemeteries?

An article appearing in the English Manchester newspaper highlights the extreme pitfalls if dogs are allowed into cemeteries without proper management. Filth being left on graves and public walk ways and the disrespect of owners who were challenged for their dog’s leaving resulted in a complete ban on dogs in Manchester graveyards.

The Registrar speaking to the Manchester Eveing news has clear thoughts on should dogs be allowed In cemeteries? he commented: “Under no circumstances should they be fouling on graves, it’s so disrespectful. I used to just ask them to put their dogs on a lead but it’s gone beyond that now. There was one the other day who was letting his dog dirty the garden of remembrance where people’s ashes are. He gave me a load of verbal abuse. They seem to feel I am in the wrong for challenging them.”

It would be normal to find it disrespectful if you’re going to visit a loved ones grave which you’ve kept clean and added flowers only to be met with someone’s dog doing it’s business. However, conversely, a person writing on reddit, and who’s opinion was liked wrote: “I personally do not think it is disrespectful so long they are on-leash, don’t do their business on anybody’s grave, and you clean up after your pet, as you would (or should) do as if you were in a public park.”

For centuries, dogs have been welcomed at gravesides. In fact, at first, dogs were seen as blessings from the afterlife, being messengers between the living and the dead. Many cultures have a special place in their hearts for their dogs. When someone passed away in ancient cultures, their pets were often left behind, and many people choose to allow their dogs to stay at their grave. However, this does not mean that dogs should always be allowed at cemeteries.

In Conclusion – Should Dogs Be Allowed In Cemeteries?

Personally I believe if a small cemetery allows dogs on a leashes and if you are a responsible owner and pick-up after your pet, and don’t let the dog do his business on a grave, and are respectful to those visiting their family graves there should not be a problem. The problem arises in policing the offendors and for that reason you can see why some cemeteries have a blanket ban on dogs.

Before you take your dog to a graveyard, it’s important that you follow those basic rules. It’s also a good idea to check with the cemetery to see if dogs are permitted there. Perhaps cameras at cemeteries would help police behavior of dogs and their owners; the ‘Should Dogs Be allowed In Cemeteries?’ debate won’t simmer down any time soon.

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