© 2024 KASU
Your Connection to Music, News, Arts and Views for 65 Years
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Here is where you can find news about Jonesboro, Craighead County, and Arkansas at large, as well as news for Missouri and Tennessee.[ Read our Mission Statement ]

Emotional meeting over the purchase of a local pet cemetery

Susan Jones holding up a photo of one of her dogs that was buried at the Thelma Holford Pet Cemetery in Jonesboro.
Susan Jones holding up a photo of one of her dogs that was buried at the Thelma Holford Pet Cemetery in Jonesboro.

Craighead Electric bought a piece of property connected to their headquarters Jan. 3, 2024 that contained a pet cemetery.

The Thelma Holford Pet Cemetery, located on 4500 Stadium Blvd., was a part of the 5.2 acres purchased by the company. The news sparked outrage from those who’s pets were buried there.

A Facebook group “Friends of Thelma Holford Pet Cemetery” hosted a meeting with Jason Gazaway, the relator and representative for Craighead Electric, to voice their thoughts and concerns on Saturday, Jan. 27.

Gazaway said people with pets buried on the property can retrieve the headstones and monuments. There are three days in the Spring set up for pickup: March 15, April 15, and May 15. Though, he said that they will work with anyone who needs another date.

The group could not come up with a definitive decision on what to do. Gazaway said there is a possibility for a memorial garden if that was something everyone could agree on.

Some wanted the property to be left alone, others wanted their pets exhumed from the property to bring home.

“I have been told that there’s not anything to exhume,” Gazaway said. “That the length of time that’s gone by, the natural process has occurred, and that there’s not going to be anything found.”

Gazaway said he recognizes that this is a tough situation for everyone.

Some just want their money back from the plots. Among them were William and Kara Holt, who said they had purchased 15 plots and have six animals buried. They said they spent $90 per plot, and even more money on their headstones.

Another critic who spoke was Leon Lachat, who said he felt like the decision was “pure greed.”

“Why must Craighead Electric disturb that land? I don't want to see these people digging up their animals. It disgusts me to my core to even be having this conversation,” Leon Lachat said during the meeting.

Gazaway said with the land connecting to the headquarters it is the most convenient for the company. He said it also gives the company access to a road with a stoplight, which is vital for that hauling equipment to make a protected right hand turn out of the property. Gazaway said it was safer for the employees and Jonesboro pedestrians.

“I’m sorry y’all but I am mad,” Susan Jones said through tears at the meeting. “I want the respect for my babies.” She said she has spent $500 per plot for both of her “fur babies.”

“This is desecration of graves,” Jones said. “I don’t want my babies mixed up with concrete. I couldn’t live with myself.”

Gazaway is hoping for the group to come to a “reasonable” conclusion by June 1.

“I want to do something that makes sense. We could do some type of memorial,” Gazaway said at the meeting.

“I don’t need a memorial garden to remind me my pet got buried under a memorial garden,” Lachat responded. “Just don’t bother it.”

Several community members said they’re going to take this fight to the City of Jonesboro at the next city council meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 6.

A 2019 graduate of Sheridan High School, Robinson graduated from A-State with a degree in multimedia journalism in December 2023. In January 2021, while working toward her degree, she was named sports editor for The Herald, A-State’s student-run newspaper.