There’s an ongoing problem at Hawaii State Veterans Cemetery in Kaneohe.
It’s a place loved ones go to pay their respects to those who served our country.
But former Honor Guardsman Mark Coulbourne says the graves aren’t getting the respect they deserve.
Coulbourne comes to the cemetery year round to visit his parents’ grave site, both of whom were members of the military.
Coulbourne is also a veteran. He was a member of the Honor Guard for 10 years.
He says all he asks is that veterans’ grave sites get the respect they deserve. He also says it’s been happening more and more.
He’ll find plates of food left out for cats just yards from his parents’ grave site, which are not allowed at the cemetery. It’s something he wants to be stopped.
“To draw them into an area which is literally 20 yards away from grave sites is just disrespectful and takes away the dignity of the veterans that have fought for us just didn’t seem right to me,” he said.
Lt. Col. Charles Anthony says that the goal isn’t to hurt the cats, but rather to keep them contained. Feral cats living behind the maintenance shed at the cemetery are allowed to be fed periodically, but that’s by an organization that helps trap, neuter, and release feral cats.
“Members of the public should not be doing that. I know that they mean well. They really want to just help poor, homeless feral cats but it does have second and third order effects,” Anthony said.
One of those effects, according to Coulbourne, is the feral pigs that follow. “Right after the food comes out, the pigs come out and they’re running all about,” he said.
Anthony says it’s really just about keeping the public informed. “You really can’t do anything about the feral pigs in the general area, but you can help to keep them from coming on the cemetery property just by following the rules and not feeding the feral cats on the periphery of the cemetery,” he said.
As for what’s being done, Anthony says signs will be put up soon asking the public not to feed the feral cats. If they keep doing it, he says appropriate actions will be taken.