LAKES WALES, Fla. -- A woman who buried her pet Chihuahua in Lake Wailes Park has been given 48 hours to have the remains removed or risk having the grave site removed by the city of Lake Wales.
Ashley Duey said after her beloved "Jessie Girl" passed away she knew she had to give a proper burial.
"It was like losing my own child it really was," said Duey. "I just wanted a spot where I could come visit her every day. I don’t have the money to cremate her or I would."
Duey and her family buried the dog over the weekend after dark in the spot they spent so much time together, near the park's walking trail along the water.
"There was no grass there already," said Duey. "I made it look real nice. I didn’t think it was going to be an issue."
But when Duey woke up Monday she says she was barraged with messages, including one from the city of Lake Wales telling her she had just 48 hours to remove her pet’s remains or they’d do it for her.
"I think it was very insensitive," said a tearful Duey.
The city says while they feel for the dog’s owner, a city park is not an appropriate place to bury a pet, adding it's also against the law. Not only that, but the grave site is in a highly visible area of the park right near the parking lot and fishing pier.
"It's truly sacred ground," said longtime Lake Wales resident Kathy Watson who grew up coming to the park with her own dogs.
"It touched my heart," said Kathy Watson of the grave site. "You can tell the owners really cared for their dog.
As for the Duey family, they say they’ll comply with the city’s order to remove the remains, but say they don't have enough money to have Jessie Girl cremated.
Duey started a fundraising page for money to cremate Jessie Girl. Tuesday, she posted on Facebook that she had taken the page down because she had raised enough money.