A veterans’ cemetery in Exeter, Rhode Island, allows people to walk their dogs among the gravestones much to the dismay of many who find it sacrilegious.
According to The Associated Press, the state has received six complaints in the past year from visitors to the cemetery who found fault with dogs roaming around the 265-acre property.
David Brasuell, president of the National Association of State Directors of Veterans Affairs, called it “inappropriate.”
Many state veterans’ cemeteries ban pets out of respect for the fallen, but Rhode Island is the exception. Some allow an exception, but only in the case of service animals.
Washington, D.C.’s Congressional Cemetery — home to the graves of former cabinet members, generals, merchants, and foreign diplomats — however, has a dues policy that allows paying members to walk their dogs within it.
While many find it disrespectful, some dog owners suggest that banning pets is unnecessary.
“People come here to mourn. I understand that,” said Rebecca Allen, an Exeter native. “But why shouldn’t someone be able to bring their dog?”
Legislation was introduced in 2014 and 2015 to ban pets from the cemetery; however, the question of enforcement caused an indefinite stall.