Mother calls on elected officials to enforce loitering rules at city cemetery where her son is buried
A mother says she is constantly disturbed by loiters while visiting her son's grave in a city cemetery.
Gail DeGannes-Hoyte says the pain of losing a child is now accompanied by frustration as she spent over a year trying to maintain a peaceful resting place for her son at Evergreen Cemetery.
"I really don't feel safe, the cemetery is not safe," she says. "There's dogs roaming around with their owners, picnics on gravesites, joggers, cyclist — everything prohibited by the cemetery rule and regulations continues to occur in the cemetery."
DeGannes-Hoyte says after filing her initial complaint with the cemetery in September 2019, she reached out to elected officials and the Attorney General to try and get help. However, she claims that nothing was done.
"It's disappointing that the elected officials did not help, and I'm just gonna keep fighting for what's right," she says. "I'm not only fighting because my son is here, this is sacred ground."
A rally was held on Saturday to call on the cemetery and elected officials to enforce rules and regulations.
DeGannes-Hoyte says she spoke to an intern from state Sen. Julia Salazar's office for about two months, but was told Salzaar would not have time to meet with her in person.
"I just left it because it doesn't make any sense, she doesn't have time to talk to me, I guess I'm not important…she's busy talking other organizations," DeGannes-Hoyte says.
Sen. Salazar responded to DeGannes-Hoyte's complaint in a statement, saying, "It is already against the law to loiter in cemeteries, and it is incredibly disrespectful to the families of the deceased to allow unleashed dogs near the gravesites. There is abundant, accessible green space beside Evergreen Cemetery, in Highland Park, for people to use instead of unlawfully using the cemetery. My office has heard the concerns about this in our neighborhood and we want to create a solution that will work for everyone."
DeGannes-Hoyte filed a claim through the Attorney General's Office to the Department of Cemeteries, where it found that the cemetery is in compliance with New York laws.
However, DeGannes-Hoyte says she doesn't plan on giving up her cause anytime soon.
News 12 reached out to the Division of Cemeteries and Evergreen Cemetery for comment.