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Delaware SPCA acknowledges possible human remains in its pet cemetery


The Delaware Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals believes it has found human remains in its Stanton Pet Cemetery.


In its application to register the cemetery with the Delaware Division of Public Health, the SPCA said upon inspection, they found a stone with the name Ms. Ligon and her pet, Lady.


“We will not remove the stone or dig to confirm human ashes of Ms. Ligon,” said Tiffany Briddell, the SPCA's interim executive director, in a fax addressed to the Delaware Division of Public Health. “We will accept the stone as proof.”


According to Delaware law, all cemeteries are required to register with the state and renew their registration every five years.


"The way we go after this philosophically is we don't view this as an opportunity to catch people out," said Emily Knearl, the communications director for the Delaware Division of Public Health. "We think the role is to educate the public on what was required."


Knearl said the division of public health heard there was the possibility of human remains at the cemetery so it reached out to the SPCA to remind them of the requirements of the law. 


The area where the human remains are has now been registered with the state. Knearl said the plot of land must either be maintained in perpetuity or the remains must be moved. Either is legal under Delaware law.


Delaware Public Media reached out to the SPCA, but did not receive a comment.