Pet cemetery transformed by the work of dedicated locals

Cobar’s pet burial ground has been transformed thanks to the work of three dedicated locals, Julie Milson, Sue De Jong and Brett Luton. ▪ Photo contributed

A desire to give pets their due respect after they die has motivated a group of locals to clean up Cobar’s neglected and badly overgrown Pet Burial Ground.

Local woman Julie Milson, along with Sue De Jong and Brett Luton, have put in lots of  back breaking hours over the past month cleaning up the Pet Burial Ground located just off the ‘Chalkie’ road.

And the difference is remarkable with Julie reporting they have already uncovered over 60 graves that were previously overgrown with weeds.

“We’ve counted 63, just in the main
area around the sign,” Julie told The Cobar Weekly.

“We think there’s still a few more over the back that we haven’t got to yet.”

The trio have been working hard to clear the main area of weeds and to locate where each of the graves are.

Julie said some of the plots have crosses with names on them while others just have stones or bricks to designate the area where pets are buried.

As part of the clean up, Julie said they plan to spray the weeds to keep them down, put in a gravel path, plant some trees and maybe a small garden.

She’d also like to see the area fenced off so that motorbike riders don’t accidentally ride through it.

Julie, along with Sue and Brett, met earlier this month with Cobar Shire Council’s director of planning and environmental services Garry Ryman to talk about what can be done to clean up the area.

She said that Mr Ryman said he was unable to find out much information about the area, who owned the land and when it was established.

Julie said one local resident has advised her they had buried their dog there in 1997 and they thought it was fairly newly established at that time.

She said a former Cobar Shire councillor, Karen Walsh, who was serving on council around the time it was set up, commended them on the work they are doing.

Karen told Julie she recalls that it was established because animals were being disposed of in some inappropriate places around town.

“The area was identified as a place where animals could be buried,” Karen said.

“The word ‘cemetery’ was avoided so as not to raise the community expectations re maintenance by council as no funds had been included in the budget for maintenance.

“It is a very emotional issue as pet and animal owners have a range of sentiments and passion for their animals,” Karen said.

“At the end of the day, it would be ratepayers who would have to pay.”

Julie said that Mr Ryman suggested they could form a committee and should look into  any insurance, health and safety issues that may arise  while they are working there.

The trio asked if council might be able to collect the large pile of weeds they have cleared and take them to the tip and also if they could get some water delivered to help to establish some trees.

She said Mr Ryman said he would look into what could be done.