Pet cemetery owner files for bankruptcy protection Civil, criminal charges were filed against him

December 06, 1996|By Caitlin Francke | Caitlin Francke,SUN STAFF

The owner of Elkridge's Rosa Bonheur Memorial pet cemetery has filed for bankruptcy -- possibly limiting chances that 16 disgruntled pet owners can collect thousands of dollars in claims against him.

William Anthony Green filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection in late October, about three weeks after civil and criminal charges were filed against him after an investigation by the Howard County Office of Consumer Affairs acting on behalf of the pet owners.

The legal cases -- which charge Green with deceptive trade practices and theft -- seek more than $20,000 in fines and damages.

Green is charged with not returning pet ashes to owners and failing to deliver grave markers. He has denied the allegations.

By filing for Chapter 13, Green essentially is asking the court to protect his assets while he works out a plan to pay his debts.

Yesterday, Green would not say how the bankruptcy petition would affect the 61-year-old cemetery, which contains more than 22,000 graves holding birds, hamsters, other pets and people who wanted to be buried with their pets.

"It's an ongoing business," Green said, referring all questions to his attorney, Jeffrey C. Hines of Baltimore. Hines could not be reached for comment.

In the criminal case, Green faces three counts of theft -- two of which carry maximum sentences of 15 years in prison. No trial date has been set.

Stephen D. Hannan, administrator of the Office of Consumer Affairs, said the civil case can proceed against Green, but if the county wins, any payments could be a long time coming.

"We are at this point delayed," Hannan said. "I'm going to make sure we meet all legal responsibilities to make the consumers as whole as they possibly can be."

Kenneth Walt, a Baltimore resident who says he paid Green about $2,500 to bury his pets, only to find their decomposing bodies later in a shed, said he expected the bankruptcy filing.

Pub Date: 12/06/96

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