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The City of Boulder, with the assistance of the Animal Shelter and Care Committee, maintains a dog waste station at the Boulder Cemetery.

The dog days of the Boulder Cemetery could come to an end before the dog days of summer begin.

At a meeting on June 9, Boulder Cemetery Committee members approved a draft of Resolution 2021-08, which prohibits all pets except for service animals from entering the Boulder Cemetery. The resolution could go into effect after a June 21 public hearing before the City Council. 

Committee Secretary Patricia Lewis said that the new resolution aims to replace a 1952 resolution that Town Clerk Ellen Harne discovered several months ago. That resolution established the cemetery as “sacredly devoted to the interment of the human dead.” Among other things, Resolution 2021-08 prohibits alcohol and other refreshments, glass containers, all animals except for service animals, and the planting of trees, bushes and shrubs. 

The 1952 resolution also prohibited dogs and other animals from the cemetery, City Council and Cemetery Committee member Gyle Nix said, adding that the desires of the city’s forefathers should be considered. Some Boulder residents believe dogs should not be allowed in the cemetery because some owners do not clean up after their pets. Others disagree, saying that Boulder residents have been walking their dogs there for as long as they can remember.

Resident Colleen Llewellyn said she appreciated the committee’s work to preserve the cemetery but was also concerned for those who consider their dogs to be a part of their family and therefore bring them along when they visit their deceased loved ones. The Animal Shelter and Care Committee’s Cheryl Haasakker agreed, saying that dogs are great support animals for those who are mourning. 

“How can you regulate emotion?” Llewellyn said at the meeting.

Lewis said that she personally had no issues with responsible pets in the cemetery. Cemetery Committee Chair Rhonda Craft agreed, and said she personally believes that pets should be able to visit. However, Craft and Lewis said they felt obligated as public servants to impose the new regulations per the community’s wishes, and to preserve the cemetery.

“There are many things on [the resolution] besides dogs, and we can’t think about personal objectives,” Nix said.

Haasakker said that if Resolution 2021-08 passes, and the cemetery dog waste station is removed, she could arrange it to be moved to a dog walking area.

Committee member Ellen Rae Thiel said that the new regulations might be difficult to enforce. Llewellyn agreed, and said it would be especially difficult to enforce for out-of-town visitors, who may not know about the rule. 

The City Council will make a final decision on the proposed rules after taking public comments at its June 21 meeting.

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