Who Wants to Buy a Pet Cemetery?
There's a real estate agent in Erie who has listed just about everything...homes, schools, stores. She now is handling a property that's unlike anything she ever has sold. It's a pet cemetery in McKean Township.
Jennie Bone is a real estate agent for Howard Hanna. She posted the listing for Hearthside Rest Pet Cemetery on her Howard Hanna website. She says listing a pet cemetery is definitely a first in her career.
Jennie gave me a tour of the cemetery. It was the same kind of tour she would give to a prospective buyer. Once you enter the property, you immediately get the feeling it is a special place to all the pet owners who buried their beloved animals here. There's memorial flags on some of the gravesites. There's sentiments written on some of the monuments that are more touching than I've ever seen at a human cemetery. Jennie tells me there's more than 3,000 animals at rest here.
"There's a horse, a chimpanzee, there's a kangaroo in here, cats, dogs, snakes. All different pets.” she said.
The chimpanzee Jennie speaks of is the famous movie star Bonzo. There's been two Bonzos in the movies and there's some confusion surrounding which Bonzo is buried at this site. One Bonzo starred with Ronald Reagan in a flick called 'Bedtime for Bonzo.' There's published reports stating that chimp died in a fire in California shortly after the movie's release. A second Bonzo starred in a movie called "Bonzo Goes to College' with Maureen O' Sullivan. It's widely believed he is the chimp buried at Hearthside Rest. Whichever chimpanzee it is, Jennie is using that fame to promote the property.
"Oh yes. Absolutely,” she said. “It's even in my description. It says Bonzo is buried here. So if they know a celebrity is here, why not?
The cemetery was founded in 1958 by Dr. Art Paavola, a veterinarian who also founded the Erie Animal Hospital. The upkeep of the cemetery was handed down to Art's son, and then his grandson, who does not want the responsibilities anymore and wishes to sell. But, there is one important proviso.
"It has to be a pet cemetery. It has to remain a pet cemetery in order to sell this,” declares Jennie.
Jennie has a couple of verbal offers. We may know soon if this pet cemetery will have a new loving and caring owner.
The cemetery is located on Rick Road in McKean Township. The asking price is $27,000. Jennie says it would be a good investment because there's enough open land for another 4,000 burial plots.