Families forced to dig up dead pets after cemetery loses lease

Thousands of Michigan families are being forced to dig up the remains of their beloved pets after an animal cemetery lost its lease.

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Heavenly Acres Pet Cemetery in Brighton, Mich., was supposed to be a serene final resting place for family pets.

According to FOX35, around 74,000 animals have been buried at the cemetery and most of those were pets that families paid hundreds of dollars to have buried.

According to FOX35, around 74,000 animals have been buried at the cemetery and most of those were pets that families paid hundreds of dollars to have buried. (WJBK FOX2)

"It was out in the country, a beautiful place," said Staci Hayman who, along with her husband Matthew Wiseman, buried pets at the cemetery in Livingston County for decades.

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However, the bucolic grounds operated by Linda Williams were not part of a protected land deed as clients had thought, but instead on a lease that has since expired — forcing families to either say goodbye to the remains of their pets forever, or go dig them up themselves.

Heavenly Acres Pet Cemetery in Brighton, Mich., lost its lease.

Heavenly Acres Pet Cemetery in Brighton, Mich., lost its lease. (WJBK FOX2)

According to FOX35, around 74,000 animals have been buried at the cemetery and most of those were pets that families paid hundreds of dollars to have buried.

Staci said it cost $800 to bury her 21-year-old cat, Bailey.

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"They put her in a casket, they had a beautiful room we got to say goodbye," she said to FOX35. "Then they transported her out to the cemetery. It was just like burying a human being."

The bucolic grounds operated by Linda Williams were not part of a protected land deed as clients had thought, but instead on a lease that has since expired.

The bucolic grounds operated by Linda Williams were not part of a protected land deed as clients had thought, but instead on a lease that has since expired. (WJBK FOX2)

The owners of the deceased pets reportedly found out when a letter arrived from the lawyer of the landowners informing them they had until September to exhume the remains.

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"We all paid for perpetual care and perpetual care to me, means forever," Staci said.

Fox News reached out to Heavenly Acres Pet Cemetery for comment.