Cedar Hill Pet Memorial Park
About Cedar Hill Pet Memorial Project
On August 16, 2011, Theresa and Clark Brandon had a loss in their family. It was a rescued dog named Bennie Jett. As Mr. Brandon began to make arrangements for Bennie alongside their other two dogs in the Cedar Hill Pet Memorial Park, issues started to arise. The contact information previously used was proven to be useless. The Park gate was locked and the property grounds were grown up.
Mrs. Brandon began a search to find the owners. In her search she found several different addresses for them. On August 22, 2011, she contacted the Dallas County officials, and they informed her the taxes for the Pet Memorial Park had been delinquent since 2004 in the amount of approximately $24,000. Mrs. Brandon was also informed that the County had filed a lawsuit and was awaiting a court order for a Sheriff’s Sale. Since Texas does not have any regulations governing pet cemeteries, whoever bought the land – which sits in the middle of an industrial zone – they are not obligated to keep it as a pet cemetery.
Mr. and Mrs. Brandon wanted to keep their unspoken promise to Bennie Jett by laying her to rest in a place of honor. They were shocked to realize the property was closed and potentially up for sale. The Brandon’s felt a sense of obligation to Bennie Jett, to their other two dogs at the Pet Memorial Park and to the other owners who may not have be aware of the situation; and they needed help.
The first thing to happen was a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization needed to be established. On October 19, 2011, Cedar Hill Pet Memorial Project, Inc. was created to help collect and raise funds. By this time, the news media had been contacted about the situation with the property. Several stories and interviews had been publicized.
On November 10, 2011, a public meeting was held at Zula B. Wylie Library in Cedar Hill. Approximately sixty concerned citizens came to the meeting following a news media announcement. That evening a Board of Directors was appointed from caring citizens who were committed to saving the community asset by raising funds to acquire the property and maintain it in perpetuity. The fund raising started that day.
On March 6, 2012, the County held their Sheriff’s Sale on the courthouse steps in downtown Dallas. The Cedar Hill Pet Memorial Project, Inc. supporters wore red shirts with button pins printed with “Save the Park”. There were several news media there to cover to story about the Pet Memorial Park. There was a small bidding war, but the Pet Memorial Project won the auction. Settling the outstanding debt on the property to include back taxes to 2004 plus penalties, interest and attorney’s fees.
They saved the park!
April 10, 2012 held their first fund raiser at Patrizio’s.
In May/June 2012 was the launch of our “Join the Vision” campaign. The “Join the Vision” campaign introduced the creation of the War Dog Monument.
Our own Nic Collins had a vision. Nic was an Air Force navigator who flew on missions over Iraq and Afghanistan in recent years, often helping to provide transportation and close air support for troops, including war dogs that stood at the side of their handlers in service to our country. Whether these dogs serve in protection of home and family, in service with local law enforcement, or in their heroic stance with our military, they connect with us in a special way. We want to recognize and pay tribute to that human-animal bond with the establishment of a War Dog Monument by inviting you to “Join the Vision!”
In December 2013, we became charitable partners with the PETCO Foundation.
On November 26, 2011, there was a volunteer clean-up effort at the Park. With the park being abandoned, there was much work to be done.
On May 31, 2014 we held a Dedication Ceremony and unveiling of the bronze statue created by international artist, Susan Bahary of the War Dog Monument.