By Robbie Owens

CEDAR HILL (CBSDFW.COM) – In Cedar Hill, a community driven effort to restore a beloved pet cemetery was handed a setback when sometime late last week vandals destroyed, damaged or knocked over more than a dozen headstones.

(credit: CBSDFW.COM)

(credit: CBSDFW.COM)

“I was very upset,” says Theresa Brandon, “[I] felt very violated for this park and for all the people who have trusted their animals and the remains of their animals here.”

Brandon is the founder of the Cedar Hill Pet Memorial Project. She, along with a dedicated group of pet lovers and community members, rallied to save the badly neglected park when the previous owners stopped paying the taxes and the property was auctioned on the courthouse steps last year. The group is also working on a War Dog Monument to honor the nation’s service animals. But, supporters say they’ll have to have more security before that monument is installed.

(credit: CBSDFW.COM)

(credit: CBSDFW.COM)

“We need to get some cameras,” says Brandon. “I’ve added one more new thing to the budget that I have to try to find money for.”

Brandon says she is especially disappointed because of how hard community members and volunteers have worked to clean up and repair the property. A new sign has been installed at the entry and a volunteer stepped up to paint the large overhead one until it can be updated.

Police believe the vandals struck sometime between Wednesday and Friday of last week, when the damage was first noticed.

“They’ve worked really hard on it and to think that somebody would come in and disrespect that and disrespect the people whose pets are here, and do the kind of damage they did? That’s just not a good thing for our community,” says Corky Brown, spokesperson for the Cedar Hill Police Dept. “And a lot of people are upset about it.”

(credit: CBSDFW.COM)

(credit: CBSDFW.COM)

Investigators believe that whoever damaged the headstones spent quite a bit of time in the park — as many of them were extremely heavy. They’re also asking anyone with information to contact them at 972-223-6111.

According to Brandon, the officers who investigated the complaint helped to upright many of the overturned markers. And if the culprits are bored teenagers with too much time and energy on their hands, Brandon says she has a suggestion for them as well.

“We have plenty of work for you to do and we would welcome someone with that much energy and strength, to come on out here and help us do something positive instead of something that’s demeaning to the whole community.”

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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