Owner of dog buried in Polk Co. park facing deadline to remove remains

Ashley Duey says her family didn’t realize they were breaking the law when they buried their dog, Jessie Girl in Lake Wailes Park.

LAKE WALES, Fla. (WFLA) — A Polk County dog owner is being told to remove her dog’s remains after burying it in a public park.

Ashley Duey says her family didn’t realize they were breaking the law when they buried their dog, Jessie Girl in Lake Wailes Park.

In an attempt to find the owner, the city official wrote on the City of Lake Wales Facebook page Monday that, “This will have to be removed within 48 hours or we will remove it.

City Manager Kenneth Fields told News Channel 8 that they found out Duey was the owner through posts on Facebook.

“I didn’t mean no harm, I didn’t know. There was no grass there. I mean, I figured if I put some mulch there, made it look nice; it wouldn’t be that big of a deal,” Duey says.

The grave has mulch, solar lights and a headstone that states Jessie Girl died on July 19.

The area is near the main entrance under a tree next to a picnic table. That’s where Duey says the family spent a lot of time with Jessie Girl.

Fields says the park is the most popular in the city and he’s worried about potential health hazards.

“It could attract some other animals that might try to dig it up,” Fields says.

He says the city isn’t looking to penalize Duey.

“I’m sorry for their loss, but on the other hand I have to protect the public and this is not the most appropriate place to bury it,” Fields says.

Duey says the remains were buried in a metal box and she didn’t think it would be a problem.

She says she can’t afford to pay to have the dog buried and wanted to have a location where she could remember her pet.

“I still don’t know where I’m going to put her but I wanted to get her cremated more than anything but I’m three months pregnant and I don’t have the money.”

Fields says the city is willing to work with Duey are giving her the opportunity to move the remains before sending in a crew to do it themselves.

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