Twenty-five years. That’s how long Elsie and Fred Furlong have been visiting their son’s grave.

And in that time, they’ve never seen something so outrageous.

The Sydney, N.S. couple found dog droppings on their son’s grave on Easter Sunday, prompting them to demand better bylaws – and higher fines – for dog-walkers they say shouldn’t be in graveyards in the first place.

“Why can’t they have a fine for getting caught in a graveyard?” Elsie Furlong told CTV News. “Obviously they shouldn’t be here in the first place. If that happened, I think there should be a hefty fine.”

After discovering the feces, Elsie Furlong sat in her car and cried while her husband Fred visited the grave. The feces, she said, distressed her too much.

“I’m just so upset,” she said. “To think that I can’t come here with a good heart and see my son, and see the likes of this here. To me, that’s not right. I feel really hurt.”

“This is your son and… crap all over the place,” Fred Furlong said. “She took it pretty hard and sat in the car, and that was it.”

Any dog owner leaving feces in a public place is subject to a $165 fine for the first offence, according to the Cape Breton regional municipality bylaw. The fine doubles for subsequent offences.

But there’s no specific fine in Cape Breton for bringing a dog to a graveyard, and that’s got the Furlongs upset. They want a bylaw like the one in Halifax, where all dogs, except those providing personal assistance, are barred from graveyards.

Allen MacLeod, the general manager at the graveyard, said it’s difficult to keep dog-walkers off the premises.

“You’re between a rock and a hard place. You want people to visit the graveyard, and then there’s people that take advantage of the openness and the visiting rights.”

Elsie Furlong sent a letter to the editor of a Cape Breton newspaper to ask the dog-walkers to be more respectful.

“We found a beautiful spot for my son’s final resting place, only to have some inconsiderate, uncaring, disrespectful person – or people – allow their dogs to decimate these holy grounds,” she wrote in the Apr. 29 letter.

Furlong said in her letter that her son’s grave wasn’t the only one with feces on it.

“I want those who have loved ones buried at Resurrection Cemetery to be awards of the conditions and to ask those responsible for this uncaring and disrespectful behaviour to stop and remember that they also have loved ones who have passed and would not appreciate having feces on their gravesite.”