Heartbroken Portsmouth mum 'traumatised' after dog owners let pets poo on her son's grave

A GRIEVING mother, ‘traumatised’ after catching ‘disrespectful’ dog owners allowing their pets to defecate on her son’s grave, has pleaded: ‘I just want my boy to rest in peace – don’t you think he deserves that?’

Tuesday, 26th October 2021, 8:15 am
Updated Tuesday, 26th October 2021, 1:16 pm

Heartbroken Sylvia Cole has been forced to clear lumps of faeces from her son, Chris Cole’s grave at Milton Cemetery after inconsiderate owners let their pets foul on his memorial plot.

Chris, from Portsmouth, died on February 12 after more than 170 operations on Hirschsprung’s disease, a rare form of bowel disease. He was 30 when he lost his fight for life.

He was buried at the cemetery in April but since then anguished Sylvia has told how owners let their dogs off the lead to run around over his plot.

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Sylvia Cole Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 201021-31)

And to make matters worse, the devastated 49-year-old army veteran has described how schoolchildren from Miltoncross Academy have used headstones as hurdles, leaping from plot to plot.

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Sylvia, of Milton, said she has now been forced to stand guard at her son’s plot every afternoon and has now begged for action to be taken to crackdown on disrespectful pet owners and schoolchildren.

She said: ‘My son should be able to rest in peace. He deserves some dignity

Chris Cole Picture: Portsmouth Hospitals Trust

‘Every day I’m constantly asking people, nicely, to put their dog on a lead and take their dogs off the grave.

‘I’m trying to grieve for the loss of my son. So can you imagine how upsetting it is to see a dog pooing on his grave?

‘I feel like I have let my son down by bringing him in here. I have never been so traumatised in my life. It has broken me completely.

‘It’s bad enough I haven’t got my son anymore. Now I’m having to fight to protect his grave. It’s giving me nightmares. I shouldn’t have to fight for him in death.’

Sylvia Cole Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 201021-30)

Portsmouth City Council, which oversees the cemetery, said dogs must always be on a leash when in the graveyard.

A spokesman for the authority added: ‘Portsmouth City Council sympathises with Mrs Cole and have spoken with her directly to assure her that we are doing all we can to take action against this breach of rules.

‘Clearly visible signs located at the entrances to the cemetery request that dogs are kept on leads and that any fouling is picked up and placed in the bins provided. This is reinforced on the council's website.

Mrs Cole holding a photograph of herself and her late son, Chris, who is buried here Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 201021-28)

‘In addition to this, staff based at the cemetery regularly remind dog walkers of these requirements. Community wardens are also aware of this issue and they visit cemeteries to enforce these rules.’

Nick Giles, headteacher at Miltoncross Academy, said the institution took the matter seriously and had reminded pupils of the standards they are expected to uphold during a whole-school roll call.

He added: ‘Our sympathies go out to the family. We were saddened and sorry to hear that a group of pupils have failed to recognise the poignancy and peaceful nature of this place of rest.

‘We have reminded our pupils of the respect that is expected everywhere but particularly in the graveyard.’

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