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Fight over old pet cemetery property in Surrey lands in BC court

Vacant land is zoned for three single-family residential lots
Kristin Schumacher next to the former pet cemetery site in Newton on May 7, 2024. She wants to stop the longtime landowner from developing the property, at 7777 147A Street.

A fight over the future of an old pet cemetery site in Surrey has landed in B.C. Supreme Court. 

Lynn Weir, with Turnberry Developments, has filed notice of civil claim against Kristin Adele Schumacher following "a campaign of defamation and harassment targeted at Ms. Weir" in which Schumacher and others are alleged to have "engaged in a pattern of conduct designed to, through unlawful means, interfere with the economic relations of Turnberry."

Key to Weir's claim, dated June 19, is an online fundraising campaign launched by Schumacher to "stop developers from digging up BC Pet Cemetery," formerly located at 7777 147A St. in Newton.

Weir says the GoFundMe page included statements "that are demonstrably false and contain misinformation about the plaintiffs, the property and the applicable laws and regulations." Also noted in the civil claim is an online petition published by Schumacher, who runs Kitty Kompany Pet Sitting Services in Newton.

General and special damages are sought by Weir, who claims Schumacher's actions have caused "fear of personal safety" and other issues, and led to a delay in having the City of Surrey move forward Turnberry's subdivision development plans.

pet cemetery site
Pet grave markers on the property in Surrey at 7777 147A St. (Contributed photo)

The property is where a sign was placed Feb. 2 announcing H.Y. Engineering’s application to the City of Surrey to subdivide the property into three RF lots (single-family residential). Soon after, local animal lovers began petitioning and raising money to stop housing development from happening on the former pet cemetery site.

Close to 700 pets are buried on the property, which was rural land in the 1950s when Daniel and Nellie (Mary) Blair created B.C. Pet Cemetery as a business, long since dissolved.

“Developers want to dig up this cherished land to build three houses,” Schumacher charged in her petition. “This is not just an affront to animal lovers like myself but also a disregard for our community’s history and values."

Some say human remains are also interred on the old cemetery site, but the landowner contends otherwise.

Since 1993, Turnberry has owned the vacant land, now surrounded by houses and zoned accordingly. The current assessed value is $953,000.

For years there’s been talk about turning the property into a park. Surrey council considered doing that in 1995, but instead backed a plan to have a non-profit group buy the land, something that never happened.

“Pet cemeteries are not regulated under the provincial Cemetery and Funeral Services Act (1990),” a report to Surrey council noted in 1996. “Therefore, the developer, if he so chooses, could remove all headstones from the property and use the property for any purposes permitted under the zoning. There is no legal requirement to recognize in any way that animals have been interred on the site.”

The notice of civil claim was filed June 19. As of publication, no response to the claim has been filed. 

The claims have yet to be tested in court.

Tom Zillich

About the Author: Tom Zillich

I cover entertainment, sports and news for Surrey Now-Leader and Black Press Media
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