Pet owners given deadline to exhume pets

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HOWELL, MI. (WILX) -- Outrage is growing for some Michigan pet owners who have pets buried at a cemetery in Howell.

Pet owners given deadline to exhume pets. (Source WILX)

The pet cemetery shut down last year.

Owners then received letters telling them to exhume their pets or lose claim to them.

Helen Boutorwick received an exhumation notice. "This is my beautiful mom who we sadly lost to cancer."

Helen holds on dearly to memories of her late mom and that includes memories of her cats and one dog her mom had buried her at Heavenly Acres Pet Cemetery between 1998 and 2008.

"My late mom - my beautiful, kind, wonderful, kind-hearted mom, they were like her children. They were part of our family."

But now she says thousands of pets buried there have been put on notice.

'Exhume your former pets or lose claim to them.'

They received a letter telling them to choose one of nine pre-determined dates with two to four hour time slots for the exhumations.

"That really killed me. I collapsed in tears."

The cemetery closed last year after the lease expired.

A property company that owns the land sent a letter to the former pet owners calling the exhumation opportunity a gesture of goodwill.

"It's a pretty cruel letter when you read it, it says this is a gesture of goodwill, this is your last opportunity to get your pets."

She says in all her family has seven pets buried there.

And they're still looking for one of the grave sites. She says the property is unsafe, full of overgrown grass and no markers.

"It's basic humanity to allow us basic time to recover them without getting hurt. "

At this point, she's given up on exhuming the animals because it's expensive, painful and she isn't sure what she'll find.

She's at least hoping to get the gravestones back.

"It's like losing my mom again. That kind of pain it's just the weight of it, a renewed sense of loss that wow we may not be able to make this right for her."

The company that now owns the property did not respond to requests for comment.

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