THE FAMILY of a man who died in a motorbike accident as a teenager has called for dog owners to be more vigilant after visiting his graveyard on what would have been his fortieth birthday – only to find it covered in faeces.
On Monday Madeline Morrison went to visit the South Whiteness grave of Ivor Pottinger, who lost his life aged only 17 in July 1994, as it would have been his fortieth birthday.
His sister Amanda Nisbet, who lives in the family home in Whiteness, said her mum had been “completely distressed and angry” about the mess in and around the gravestone.
Madeline came to find Amanda at her workplace, Robinson & Morrison, because she was so upset.
“We just want folk to be aware of it – it’s absolutely disgusting and disrespectful,” Amanda said. “It’s a shameless thing to do, to let your dog in to crap over other people’s graves.
“There was six different lots [of dog mess] on it, and it’s been on more than one occasion that somebody’s been slipping [the dogs] in.
“For that to happen, when mum went to put flowers in, it shocked her – she was so mad and angry and upset.”
She has brought the matter to the attention of Shetland Islands Council, which maintains the burial grounds, and is furious that “folk are slipping their dogs because it’s an enclosed space, dogs are pissing over headstones and crapping over them as well”.
Amanda said she completely understood that the local authority, which maintains more than 70 graveyards, couldn’t be expected to monitor them around the clock.
“One of the guys that’s in charge phoned me back, and he said it’s ongoing – there’s only six of them in charge, they can’t police the graveyards 24/7. You can stick notices up but folk don’t pay any attention.”
William Spence of the council’s environmental services department said the family had his full sympathy.
“We’re kind of disgusted with it, that folk is actually taking their dogs into burial grounds and letting them dog-foul,” he said.
“Certainly in our management rules, as far as burial grounds go, we ask folk to ensure they are on leads if they have to take them in, and keep to recognised paths, and certainly uplift any fouling.
“But it’s quite upsetting, obviously, for the bereaved. I think I’ll be looking at putting up signs to try and ensure that folk don’t take dogs into burial grounds.
“We maintain over 70 burial grounds and we have to let folk have access to them, but it’s purely the dog owners who are being irresponsible.”
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