Skip to comments.For Pets, Owners, There's No Rest (Pet Cemetery Sold; Come Dig Up Your Pet!)
Posted on 07/10/2009 1:08:50 PM PDT by Diana in Wisconsin
When I last wrote about Thistlerose Pet Cemetery and Crematory in 2008, the owners and their lawyer were promising the so-called final resting grounds would not be disturbed, even though the property in Greendale was for sale.
Well, forget all that. Get the shovels back out.
In a notice displayed at Thistlerose, they're already referring to it as the "former" cemetery. The anticipated closing date for the sale is July 30.
"You have until July 24, 2009, to arrange for the removal of the remains of your pet and any memorial marker. If the remains and any marker are not removed by that date, they will be deemed to have been abandoned and will be removed, and not preserved, by the new owner," the notice says.
And guess who gets stuck paying for that removal?
I stopped at Thistlerose on Thursday and found perhaps half a dozen disturbed graves. One empty hole was flanked on either side by stones reading "Lady, forever in our hearts" and "Spanky, our boy, the chief. He owned us."
Thistlerose is best known as the burial spot of a dog owned by actress Jayne Mansfield. The Chihuahua named Gallina died in 1964 while Mansfield was in Milwaukee performing in a play.
The bronze marker has been removed by the cemetery owners to protect it from souvenir-seekers. No one from the late actress' family has come forward to claim the remains.
The cemetery owners' new lawyer, Thomas Glowacki of Madison, said someone over-promised last year when vowing the graves would never be disturbed. The plan then was to divide the parcel into two pieces and sell the cemetery portion to someone willing to maintain it.
Don't bother looking up what state statutes say about closing a pet cemetery. There isn't any such law, Glowacki said. He looked.
I'm picturing bulldozers in the coming weeks, and it ain't pretty.
"I'm guessing the same," said Re/Max agent Glenn Shong, who was involved in the sale. Both he and Glowacki said the buyer wanted to remain anonymous at the moment, and they would not say what is planned for the 1.8-acre parcel on the corner of S. 68th St. and W. Loomis Road.
"They're going to do something other than what's there," Shong said.
What's been there for the past half-century: a kennel operation, along with the pet cemetery and crematory, all run lovingly if loosely by Eleanor Jolly. She died in February 2008, and her descendants aren't interested in the business.
Suzanne Jenkin, Jolly's granddaughter, whose name is on the notice, wouldn't talk to me. Hey, I'm just trying to get the word out to dig now or never.
Jolly kept sketchy records of the operation in spiral notebooks, so efforts by Glowacki to send notices to cemetery customers from over the years have been hit-and-miss.
"Obviously, no one feels good about this," Glowacki said. "I have three cats in my backyard, so I'm not insensitive to this."
I've heard estimates that as many as 500 dogs and cats are buried at Thistlerose, along with one pet chicken. Glowacki said he thought it was closer to 250.
Barb Schumann of Greenfield paid $236.60 to bury her dachshund, Adolphe, at Thistlerose in 1973. Her late brother's dog, Susie, also was buried there.
Schumann was driving by recently and spotted the posted notices. She never received one in the mail.
With help from a friend who had experience exhuming human bodies for the police in New York, she dug up both graves last week and took the remains to her vet to be cremated. Someday, she's going to have the ashes of all her pets commingled with her own. "We're all going together," she said.
She's not angry, but she would never again pay to have an animal buried at a pet cemetery. What assurance is there that it would stay in business?
"I worried about it back then, and sure as hell, it happened," she said.
Rosemary Andrea's dog, Joy, died in 2004 and was one of the last burials at Thistlerose. After she received the closing notice, she wrote to Glowacki and told him she paid Jolly $1,420 to bury Joy.
"I believe Mrs. Jolly's heirs are responsible for relocating the animals at their expense before final settlement is made," the Menomonee Falls woman wrote on June 20. There was no reply.
Now, she's not sure what to do for her beloved German shepherd-and-collie mix. "She was a real loving dog. Everybody loved her," she said.
Jim Gerke of Milwaukee said his family has two dogs at Thistlerose. He might wind up moving them to his yard.
"I don't want to have them dumped in the garbage someplace," Gerke said. "We've been fooled. You don't rent a grave. You figure it's going to be there."
We have one dog buried in the back yard under a tree; he was a rescue dog that was VERY hard to train, but he lived a good life out here on the farm with us for a few years before he died. Both of our senior cats (17 and 15) were cremated at our AWESOME Vet's office and all of our subsequent dogs have been and will be as well.
And for those of you who beat me up a few weeks ago for claiming that animals don't have souls; well, have at it again, LOL! (They don't!)
P.S. And what the heck is even LEFT of thes pets? Some of them have been in the ground since 1964!
How terrible for the people who have their pets buried there. We have our own pet cemetery in our backyard, and each of our animals have memorials. I can’t imagine moving now.
Some people are very lonely and those pets may have been their companion for years before crossing the Rainbow Bridge. I see no need to be disrespectful to those who are placed in this emotional situation.
It’s a freaking animal. We donate our dead pets to the vet school.
“I see no need to be disrespectful to those who are placed in this emotional situation.”
“Its a freaking animal. We donate our dead pets to the vet school.”
This thread will run from A to Z, I’m predicting, LOL!
This doesn’t seem right at all. I would file an injunction if I had buried a pet there.
I think some people place too much importance on remains but these people did PAY to have a burial spot for their pets. The woman’s family should AT LEAST refund the money they paid to have the pets buried there or pay to have them relocated. A lawsuit is probably forthcoming.
I agree. From a Cpaitalist point of view, this pet cemetery family IS ripping off the ‘consumer’ even though all indications are that the woman who ran the place was half nuts to begin with.
I can see why the heirs are running for cover...and most likely lawyers. ;)
Its a freaking animal. We donate our dead pets to the vet school.
It’s a family member, pal. Frankly, you shouldn’t be permitted to have a pet.
Same author, same story from one year ago; people were assured that their pets’ remains would stay put:
Thistlerose Pet Cemetery may live on
Posted: July 15, 2008
Now the owner of defunct Thistlerose Pet Cemetery and Crematory in Greendale is telling people to hold off on digging up their dogs and cats.
When I wrote about this two weeks ago, Yvonne Hanson was saying the property is for sale, and she encouraged removal of the remains buried there. She estimates that 25 graves have been emptied by owners since then, and animal caskets moved elsewhere.
Put down the shovels for the time being, because Thistlerose may live on right there at the corner of S. 68th St. and W. Loomis Road.
The plan now is to divide the 1.8-acre parcel into two pieces and sell the cemetery portion of the property to another pet cemetery thats willing to keep it going.
The rest of the land, which holds a house and dog kennels, would be sold separately, possibly to the owner of a nursing home next door, said Warren Klaus, a lawyer representing Hanson and six other grandchildren heirs of Eleanor Jolly, who ran Thistlerose for half a century. She died in February.
The animal graves will never be destroyed, Klaus vowed.
It just cant happen as long as we represent them, he said. The last scene that we want to be part of, as a law firm or as a family, is to have the Journal (Sentinel) or the TV have a production out there where theres a yellow Caterpillar bulldozing over Fifis headstone.
It took Thistlerose a while, but it sounds like theyve come up with the right answer. You dont just close a cemetery pets or people and say tough luck. Plus, someones bound to sue you. Hanson said some people have cussed her out.
Up to this time, Klaus said, we have not been able to find any state statute, any case law, that says there are inherent rights to keep these (pet) cemeteries into perpetuity. But that doesnt mean morally that somebody ought to go out there and start forcing people to move graves of pets.
Ive been hearing from folks who unearthed pets in recent days rather than risk the bulldozer scenario.
Alex Johnson of Sheboygan had help from his son digging up three dogs that his now-deceased parents buried in the 1980s and 1990s.
It was not a fun task, he said. It took the two of us about one and a half hours to unearth the dogs on a hot and muggy day.
They took the three caskets to a pet cemetery in Sheboygan and paid $400 to rebury them.
Marion Hintz of Oak Creek was all set to rebury her cat, Fufu, on some land that her daughters friend has. Then she spoke to Hanson, who said, Dont move him. The cat can stay.
Kathleen Cudahy wrote to me from New York. She said her 84-year-old parents are worried about the dachshund, Pretzel, they buried at Thistlerose in the 1960s.
Anyways, here I am in Manhattan trying to figure out how one exhumes a dachshund that died 44 years ago, cremate whatever and rebury same, she said.
Pretzel was buried at Thistlerose about the same time as Jayne Mansfields dog, which died while the Pamela Anderson of her day was visiting Milwaukee and performing in a play. Efforts were made on Thistleroses behalf earlier this month to contact Mansfields daughter, Law and Order star Mariska Hargitay, to see if the family wanted the grave moved. So far theres been no response.
But now the question appears to be moot. If the sale works out as planned, Mansfields Chihuahua and hundreds of other pets of less renown can stay put.
I’m in favor of using a combination of two species of insects to reduce unwanted animal remains and cadavers to clean bones, as a relatively fast, inexpensive, and clean disposal technique. This technique has long been used by natural history museums to clean bones for display.
Instead of wasting and possibly contaminating good land, or using a huge amount of fuel for cremation, all that remains are more insects that can be safely and cleanly disposed as organic waste.
It also provides for the recovery of artificial parts for recycling. Dry bones can then be ground for powder, then briefly heated to insure sterility before being placed in an urn. Otherwise, they might be preserved in an religious ossuary.
While unknown in America, the last major active European ossuary at Douaumont in France contains the remains of more than 130,000 French and German soldiers that fell at the Battle of Verdun during World War I.
You know what creeped me out? When I was down south (the Carolinas, NOLA, etc.) and all of the ‘graves’ are ABOVE ground. *SHIVER*
I totally understand it based upon sea levels, but again, I agree with you on the waste of real estate.
What’s your take on golf courses?
O M G !
Jerry: “Hey, Kramer! I dug Fredo up,now let’s cut him open!”
I'm not saying animals can't have and express emotions and loyalty, but souls are what sets people apart. Animals were a gift from God put here for our use, be that food, clothing, or companionship, but souls? Nah, I'm with you.
Thank you! :) Man, I got the SNOT beat out of me a few weeks ago on that subject; guess those were fly-by-night Freepers, LOL!
(Of course I held my ground...)
That is your opinion. We’ve never had any “freakin” animals as you said. We have had loving, loyal pets and we have cared for them in death as we cared for them in life. We gave them a dignified goodbye.
Neither animals, nor humans, have “souls”.
I always thought it was sad that he ended up in an unmarked grave.
Even when he did “My Cousin Vinny”?
Not on the same level as the Chi-Town graveyard ghoul story.
See you in Heaven. Don’t trip over the rocks.
While I could be aggrieved with golf courses, I can put them in perspective with a greater metropolitan area. While they serve only one direct function, they also provide aesthetic value as well as reduce heat islands and dust, some noise reduction, and some oasis for wild animals.
Living in the southwest does make you more aware of water use, but that is relative as well. Agriculture and industry make good use of most public water, so only blatant misuse, like multiple shallow artificial lakes in residential areas, is really abusive.
Golf courses are also easy to covert to other uses, as they are just a “surface” use.
It TOOK long enough for a ‘Pet Cemetery’ post, LOL! We’re slippin’!
Yeah, bury it on your property, but to actually pay money for a burial plot ???
Stuffed domestic animals creep me out. Deer or fish or other wild trophy animals don’t bother me.
I'm just thinking if you are going to spend money on a plot, you might as well spent that money on stuffing "fluffy" and be able to pet their heads every morning
Heck, you don't even have to feed or walk them
If you don’t get it, I can’t explain it.
I’m not here to make anyone believe otherwise. Folks live by example and engage those who are willing to consider these things. Cheers!
This comes down to contract law. What were the terms on the contract signed when they buried their pets?
Well turning them into golf courses kills two birds with one stone. Dead people get to stay buried while living people get extra places to get in some golf.
Dead people down below...living people up above. Everybody is a winner!
Also, the tombstones could double as hazards for the golfers up above. Make the game a little more challenging.
We could also bury a bunch of animals next to airport runways.
I had heard Jayne Mansfield never paid the bill to have her chihuahua buried at Thistlerose. If the pet owner doesn’t pay the bill, do they evict the animal?
Her heirs paid it later; I guess they want whatever is left of a dog 50 years gone. Maybe a diamond-studded collar? ;)
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