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She expected her cats to rest in tended graves. But pet cemetery now looks abandoned.
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She expected her cats to rest in tended graves. But pet cemetery now looks abandoned.

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CHARLOTTE — When both of Sandi Langdon’s cats died, she thought the “fairly nice” cemetery she paid to bury them in would be around forever so she could visit them anytime.

Langdon’s veterinarian recommended she bury Princess, in 2003, and Lionel, in 2006, at the Charlotte Pet Cemetery on South Tryon Street.

What Langdon didn’t expect was for the property to be so unkempt more than a decade later. When Langdon drove by the cemetery to pay Princess and Lionel a visit on Oct. 31, she said the cemetery looked abandoned.

“I could hardly even find it because the sign was gone,” Langdon told the Observer. “There was a fallen tree over the road so you couldn’t really go into it with a car very far.”

Weeds were tall, homeless people were living on the property and it was difficult to find the cats’ graves, Langdon said.

“It was just a mess,” she said.

Who owns the cemetery?

Langdon was afraid the property would get bulldozed and she’d never be able to see her cats’ graves again. A friend did some research and found that the property was owned by Terry’s Kennels.

Terry’s Kennels was a now-dissolved pet crematory company based in Huntersville, and owned by Silas Terry Davis Sr., according to N.C. Secretary of State records. The company began operations in 1969 and ended them in 2019.

Davis died on March 29, according to an obituary posted by James Funeral Home.

It’s unclear whether Davis’ family now owns the property. The Observer tried contacting his family by phone and email but got no response.

The company paid its 2020 property tax bill on Jan. 5, according to Mecklenburg County property tax collections. A 2021 tax bill isn’t available.

A property wouldn’t go into foreclosure until its owner hadn’t paid their tax bill for six plus years, said David McCasey, Mecklenburg County’s assistant tax collector.

In 2019, Charlotte’s WJZY-Channel 46 reported that the cemetery took months to return pets’ cremated remains to their owners.

A member of the Davis family did respond to the TV station at the time, and told them “the owner was in his 80s and prone to forgetfulness.”

Reburying her cats

Langdon did some research of her own and found that some other cemeteries allowed owners to relocate their pets’ graves, although she said the idea of doing that sounds “creepy.” The cats may have also been buried in biodegradable coffins, so Langdon said she doesn’t know how much of their remains are left.

If Langdon dug her cats up and buried them somewhere else, it would be illegal under state law without the property owner’s written permission.

There are no specific state statues or regulations for pet cemeteries, a N.C. Cemetery Commission spokeswoman said.

The graves and markers Langdon spent “hundreds of dollars” on were supposed to be at the cemetery in perpetuity, she said. She said she was given no deed to the plots she bought, but nobody told her visitation would be temporary.

“I just want the cemetery to be back in the condition it was before,” Langdon said. “I’m not for it to be left like that in total neglect.”

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