Pet Owners File Suit Against Closed Cemetery
January 10, 2019
A fraud lawsuit has been filed in Livingston County Circuit Court by several pet owners against the operators of a Genoa Township pet cemetery, alleging they have violated a promise to provide “perpetual” care of their beloved animals.
Howell attorney Mike Olson filed the lawsuit Tuesday in Livingston County Circuit Court. The pet owners are seeking more than $25,000 in damages and an emergency restraining order to prevent any change to the Heavenly Acres Pet Cemetery on S. Kellogg Road. Olson says those with pets buried there were "tricked" and "feel betrayed."
The cemetery, which closed after its lease expired Sept. 30, was run by Linda Louise Williams. She leased it from Carol Street Park Ridge LLC, which is trying to sell it. Williams says she and a group of pet owners are trying to buy the property, but the only response they have received is a price to purchase of $480,000. The plaintiffs in the suit say Williams charged them for “perpetual care and maintenance” of the sites and that they have now been wrongly denied access to the 12-acre cemetery. The suit names Williams, along with Carol Street Park Ridge, Stone Investments, First Pet Care Services and Heavenly Acres Pet Cremation Services.
Williams previously said the cemetery went to her ex-husband as part of a 2000 divorce settlement. But by 2002, the bank assumed control of the property as part of an eviction proceeding against her ex, forcing her to step back in and assume a lease on the land. She insists that if she hadn’t, the cemetery would have closed back then. But the suit alleges Williams held a burial and on her day of eviction, Sept. 30, and continued selling lots and collecting fees until November.
The lawsuit also seeks a ruling that it remain a pet cemetery because many of the animals have been there more than 15 years and have established legal occupancy. A status conference in the suit is set for May 8th in front of Circuit Court Judge David Reader. (JK)