Editor's note: A previous version of this story incorrectly identified the city attorney. The Boulder City Attorney is Ed Guza. The story has been updated.
It’s official—the Boulder Cemetery is no longer a dog-friendly zone.
The Boulder City Council approved resolution 2021-08 at their meeting Monday, declaring that the cemetery is "sacredly devoted to the interment of the human dead." The resolution bans all animals, except for service animals, and also prohibits glass containers and refreshments, including alcohol, from the Boulder Cemetery.
The resolution also allows Public Works employees, or designated volunteers, to make improvements to cemetery lots "as may be deemed necessary," specifying that maintenance may include animal control and the removal of wilted or artificial flowers. The resolution prohibits the planting of trees, shrubs and other foliage on gravesites.
The banning of pets, especially dogs, sparked debate at past Boulder Cemetery Committee meetings. The prohibition applies to pets visiting the cemetery and the burial of pets in the cemetery, but dog walking in the cemetery was a sticking point.
The Cemetery Committee began seriously considering banning pets several months ago, after City Clerk Ellen Harne discovered an ordinance from 1952 that established original cemetery rules. Among other things, the 1952 resolution banned dogs, refreshments, alcohol and picnicking.
Council member Gyle Nix, who also sits on the cemetery board, called the 1952 resolution the "legacy of [Boulder’s] forefathers." At the City Council meeting Monday, Boulder resident Carellen Nix said that the council should be mindful of the 1952 ordinance, since many of those who wrote it are currently buried in the cemetery.
Many Boulder residents also expressed frustration that some dog walkers do not pick up after their dogs at the cemetery. Cemetery Committee Chair Rhonda Craft previously told The Monitor that during a cemetery clean-up in May, volunteers found dog waste on some headstones.
"If your dog poops on my grave, I will haunt you," Carellen Nix joked at the June 22 City Council meeting.
As Mayor Rusty Giulio read the resolution aloud, Cemetery Committee Secretary Patricia Lewis took issue with the resolution’s statement that the cemetery is for burying the human dead "and no other purposes."
Lewis said that the wording, "no other purposes," was not in the Cemetery Committee’s original draft. The committee had discussed creating a dog cemetery close to the Boulder Cemetery, Lewis said, and she felt the wording prevented that possibility in the future.
"Why didn’t you bring this up at the committee meeting?" Lewis asked Gyle Nix, who also helped draft the resolution.
Gyle Nix said that some of the wording of the resolution was altered by City Attorney Ed Guza to avoid confusion and potential loopholes. He added that if there’s a pet cemetery in the future, the council would consider modifying the resolution.
Now that dogs have officially been banned from the cemetery—again—Lewis said, the dog waste station will be moved by the Animal Shelter and Care Committee, and that she would order a new sign for the cemetery that states that dogs and glass containers are banned.
Lewis acknowledged that these ordinances will be difficult to enforce.