Preserving the memories: OMHS pet cemetery excavation - Preserving the memories: OMHS pet cemetery excavationThe Oakville & Milton Humane Society (OMHS) announces the commencement of the excavation of the OMHS Pet Cemetery. This significant step is part of the ongoing efforts to prepare for the future relocation and redevelopment of the shelter to better serve the animal welfare needs of our community.

Recognizing the importance and responsibility attached to this project, OMHS has enlisted the expertise of Dr. Tracy Rogers, Associate Professor in Anthropology and Program Director of the Forensic Science Program at the University of Toronto, along with her team of colleagues and students.

“We understand the emotional significance of the OMHS Pet Cemetery and the memories it holds for the community,” said Jeff Vallentin, Executive Director of Oakville & Milton Humane Society. “We are dedicated to providing the utmost care of these beloved pets and are grateful for the expertise that Dr. Rogers and her team bring to this important project.”

Over the next 12 to 18 months, Dr. Rogers and her team will excavate the burial plots of more than 500 pet remains which date back to the OMHS Pet Cemetary’s inception in 1953 with the last plot acquired in 1991.

“Our priority is to ensure the proper documentation and excavation of the graves, in order to recover the pets as carefully and respectfully as possible. This important community project will provide students with a unique opportunity to develop practical skills, while helping them understand why care and consideration of those we recover from any context (historic, modern, or forensic) is so important to the families who love them,” said Dr. Rogers.

OMHS has been notifying families of the need to excavate the site and relocate the pet remains for a number of years now. Most recently, contact with families continues in an effort to inform them about the project and to reassure people all remains will be properly stored until a new shelter and memorial location can be created. All families are offered the option to reclaim their pet's remains and associated recognition plaque(s).

Members of the community can learn more about the progress of the excavation and OMHS relocation project by visiting the and following OMHS on social media accounts such as Facebook and Instagram.

To learn more about the excavation, please visit our Pet Cemetery Q&A.