Veterans' families seek ban as dogs walk among gravestones

AP News
Posted: Feb 03, 2016 12:18 PM

EXETER, R.I. (AP) — Families of those buried in Rhode Island's veterans' cemetery say that using the grounds as a dog park is disrespectful to the fallen, and they're battling pet owners over access to the property.

Many veterans' cemeteries nationwide ban pets out of respect for the dead. Rhode Island has no such restrictions.

The state has received six complaints in the past year from cemetery visitors, upset that dogs are roaming about the 265-acre property in Exeter.

A bill was introduced by state lawmakers on Tuesday to prohibit pets, except for service animals, from the Rhode Island Veterans Memorial Cemetery.

The head of the Veterans of Foreign Wars department in Rhode Island, Frank Rosebrock, says he's appalled that dogs walk among the veterans' stones and sometimes relieve themselves.

Exeter native Rebecca Allen often walks her dog there. She says responsible dog owners shouldn't be penalized because of a few irresponsible ones.