Can I enter the cemetery with my dog?
All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day is a time when we visit the graves of our deceased loved ones. Many people take the opportunity to give their dog extra exercise and take it with them for a longer walk. Is it possible to enter the cemetery with a dog? What does the law say about this and how does it work in practice?
Find out more before you take your pet with you.
Can I enter the cemetery with my dog? What does the law say about this?
Despite the fact that many cemeteries prohibit entry with dogs in their regulations, and local governments have introduced similar bans throughout the city, it turns out that such provisions are invalid under the law. There is no regulation prohibiting dogs from entering cemeteries.
In 2022, the Ombudsman received a complaint from a resident of Gdańsk who questioned the ban on bringing animals into municipal cemeteries in Gdańsk. This prohibition was established in the provisions of local law, as regulations for the use of municipal cemeteries constituting an annex to the resolution of the City Council. After the intervention of the Commissioner for Human Rights, this provision was repealed.
Courts have repeatedly referred to this type of bans – according to judgments, similar bans are illegal. Owners can only comply with similar regulations out of good practices, as the prohibitions themselves have no legal basis.
Regardless of how Polish law applies to local bans on bringing dogs into cemeteries, it should be remembered that the owner is always responsible for his or her pet in a public place. Stress, crowds or simple carelessness can easily result in an unpleasant situation. For failing to follow precautions when taking the dog for a walk, the owner may be fined from PLN 50 to PLN 250. If the negligence results in a threat to the health or life of another person, the owner may pay a fine of up to PLN 500.
See also: Why you shouldn’t leave your dog in front of a store?
Walking your dog in the cemetery – is it worth it?
Opinions about the presence of dogs in cemeteries are divided. Taking a dog with you to a cemetery can be convenient, especially for older people who cannot afford numerous long walks during the day, not to mention disabled people who require assistance and who should be accompanied by a guide dog or guardian at all times.
What about the other owners? The lack of a ban is one thing, but common sense should suggest another. During All Souls’ Day and All Souls’ Day, cemeteries are often crowded. Relatives come from all over the country to visit the graves of the deceased, and the narrow cemetery alleys are often crowded. This situation can be extremely stressful for the dog, especially if it is not used to walks in similar conditions. In a crowd, it is easy to get burned by a snitch or cause accidental damage, for which the owner must be held responsible. Moreover, the dog does not understand the situation as we do. All it takes is a brief moment of inattention while cleaning a grave or a conversation with a friend, and your pet may relieve itself in a very inappropriate place.
When deciding whether we will take our pet with us during a walk to the cemetery, we should take into account not only the practicality of combining the planned trip with taking the pet for a walk. Also be considerate of other visitors, the prevailing conditions, and your pet’s well-being.