Pet Cemeteries: Peaceful Resting Place or Spooky Haunt?

It's a spooky season, and what can be scarier than a cemetery... A haunted pet cemetery. 

While cemeteries usually top the list of haunted places, most people don't immediately think of haunted pet cemeteries as a spooky spot. Though, the movie, Pet Sematary, may have given the final resting place for beloved pets an extra creepy factor. The Haunted Mansion even has its own.

Walking through a gravesite can be a little disconcerting no matter what time of year it is. Still, around Halloween, spending time around grave markers, even those of pets, can give anyone goosebumps. So here's a look at some of the oldest and spookiest pet cemeteries in the world.

Hartsdale Pet Cemetery

The oldest pet cemetery in the United States is the Hartsdale Pet Cemetery in New York City.  It has been around since 1896 when the people of New York decided they needed to have a dignified and safe burial ground for their pets who had passed on. Emily Berthet was the woman behind the creation of Hartsdale Pet Cemetery. She and Manhatten, vet, Dr. Samuel Johnson, started the cemetery on Berthet's estate. She gave 5 acres for pets to have their final resting place.

Now it holds over 80,000 pets, from dogs to cats, horses, birds, small pets, and even a lion. The site became a historical site in 2013, making it the first animal burial ground to make the list. People can tour the grounds and walk among the headstones of the beloved animals. Many have sweet epitaphs, and on national pet memorial day, pet owners are encouraged to come to decorate their pet's tombstones in memorial.

Though this is the original pet cemetery, there doesn't seem to be any spooky sightings, at least none that have been reported.

Boulder City, Nevada's Unofficial Pet Cemetery

This hidden cemetery in Boulder City is not really an official cemetery, but it has some mysterious origins. The unofficial cemetery is built in the middle of the desert in a flash flood zone, so bones and gravestones get unearthed and jumbled all of the time.  The cemetery is not on any maps, so it is a little tricky to find. However, the hard-to-miss entrance does have a sign reading, "This leads to the beginning of the cemetery." Head off on the 95/93 toward Laughlin. Follow the 95 until you get to a split, then take the first u-turn you come to. Head back the way you came, and you will hit the spooky cemetery.

Since the location is remote and about two hours from Las Vegas, the cemetery is filled with pets and mobsters. So while it may not be haunted, it definitely has the strange creepy factor.

Salem Cemetery


Ahh, Salem brings forth its own level of spookiness before you even get to a cemetery. The location evokes images of witch trials and beheadings. However, the Salem Cemetery in Ohio is filled with paranormal activity. Of the many ghost stories to come out of this cemetery, here are a few of the creepiest.

  • Large black and red dogs barrel through the grounds growling and howling
  • Louiza Catharine's ghost weeps next to her grave
  • Multiple witches are buried there
  • A lonely man is also buried there who chases females and will pinch their buns
  • Also, if you decide to walk around the place six times, you will disappear

I don't know about you, but I think I can live without being chased by ghost dogs, and I'm not about to test that last one.

Los Angeles Pet Memorial Park 

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In 1928, ten acres in Calabasas, California, was set aside for a pet cemetery. It now has more than 40,000 animals resting beneath gravestones. It is home to cats, dogs, birds, including a hen, and the MGM lion Tawny. It is also home to many famous pets, including Charlie Chapman's cat. However, the most famous pet is a Great Dane named Kabar. He was the pet of Rudolph Valentino. Legend has it that when Valentino died in New York, Kabar let out a howl. But Kabar was 3,000 miles away in Los Angeles.

Hyde Park Pet Cemetery

While the Hyde Park Pet Cemetery may be small, it is one of the oldest cemeteries in the world. It is situated between Victoria Gate Lodge's garden and the gates on the edge of the park. It contains 300 graves that are small and mostly covered in moss. The first pet buried in the cemetery was a Maltese terrier whose name was Cherry. The pup died on April 18, 1881. Despite the old age of the cemetery, there have not been any spooky sightings.

The Haunted Mansion Pet Cemetery

Most people go to Walt Disney World for rides like Mr. Toad's wild ride and other fabulous attractions at the Magic Kingdom. However, there is one more secret attraction cooked up by the Imagineers. The semi-secret addition to the Disney park is the Haunted Mansion Pet Cemetery. Those who visit the attraction, The Haunted Mansion, can see the cemetery from the wheelchair ramp.

Presidio Pet Cemetery

The Presidio Pet Cemetery may have had a beautiful setting. Still, this San Francisco pet resting place has a lot of history. The land was formerly part of a military base but has been absorbed into the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. In an awkward little spot, the half-acre cemetery comes with an adorable white picket fence and wooden grave markers. The cemetery is the final resting place for parakeets, canaries, pigeons, macaws, rabbits, rats, lizards, mice, and even goldfish. Of course, there are dogs too. Many of the animals spent time in the military traveling abroad with their handlers. While it might not be the most haunted pet cemetery, its setting does provide a pretty spooky ambiance.

St. Louis Cemetery #1

With the history and legends surrounding New Orleans, it is almost a given that one would appear on a list of haunted pet cemeteries. The St. Louis Cemetery was opened in 1788 and is filled with above-ground vaults. One sinister occupant in the Voodoo Priestess Marie Catherine Laveau had a pet snake, Zomb. It is said that the snake slithers through the cemetery at night, and Laveau herself can be seen as a "shiny large black Voodoo cat, with fire red eyes."

Other visitors say they have seen ghost dogs and cats roaming about the cemetery. But legend has it. They like to nip at the elbows of visitors...

Would you go visit any of these cemeteries? Tell us on our Wide Open Pets Facebook page.

READ MORE: From the Black Plague to the Salem Witch Trials, Black Cats Have a Dark History