Plans Emerge for Police K9 Burial Site at Highland Cemetery
Heather Jansen is mayor of Villa Hills and president of the board of directors at Highland Cemetery in Ft. Mitchell.
She and her siblings, Rick Hoefinghoff and Schelli Schroder, are in charge of a charitable trust put in place by their parents, and decided on a new project for some of the funds.
Jansen tapped into her civic and cemetery knowledge to help create a burial spot for police dogs.
The plan is to purchase fifty plots for such burials.
Jansen was moved by the 2014 story of K9 Santo, who was choked and stabbed while working with the Kenton County Sheriff's Office. Santo survived, but Jansen wanted to ensure that police dogs who are lost have a place locally to be memorialized.
"It couldn't be clearer than that," said Jansen.
The project follows the siblings' father's work of creating a pet cemetery at Highland in the 1990s.
Police dogs would now be buried at the site at no charge, and their names placed on a monument erected in the area.
"That's the plan," Jansen said, "but a few things have to fall in place first. We have expanded the original pet cemetery several times toward the back of the 250 acres. I am talking to Lewin Monuments about the monument we want to put in the police dog section."
Already Jansen has the names of 26 police dogs who have died from this area, and they will be the first ones on the monument. Jansen said she hopes the word gets out that this place will be available for the final resting place for their brave officer dogs at no charge, and even if they want the dogs buried somewhere else, they will still have their names engraved on the monument so everyone will know the animals who were always ready to die for their partner and their community.
Jansen said that Stacey Rodriguez, wife of Sheriff's Deputy Miguel Rodriguez, Santo's partner, reached out to her because she was the mayor of Villa Hills, but she didn't realize she was also the president of Highland cemetery, so things worked out just the way they should.
"This is the 150th anniversary for the cemetery, so this will honor my parents, and help celebrate the cemetery," Jansen said. "We just got the first ever police dog, too, for the City of Villa Hills. His name is Onexx, and he is a Chechislovakian Shepherd. His partner is Officer Sean Dooley."
Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor
Photo: Heather Jansen, Officer Sean Dooley, and Onexx