CBSN

Families outraged when cemetery throws out flowers the day after Mother's Day

Some families with loved ones laid to rest in a Boone County, Indiana, cemetery are outraged. Those who visited Maple Lawn Cemetery to honor their deceased moms on Mother's Day recently found out the flowers they left there were thrown in the garbage the next day.

But the cemetery says it happened because some families broke the rules. Flowers are only allowed on the gravestones and fountains. If any bouquets are left on the grass and get in the way of the lawnmower, they get picked up and disposed of.

That's no comfort for some of the families involved.

"These are our people, we pay to put them here, we pay for the tombstones, we even pay their wages to mow it. And now they're gonna tell us we can't decorate the grave," said Becky Harder, who has a mother, father, daughter, sister and husband buried in the cemetery. "They're dead. That's the only way we've got to let out some grief because of them. It makes me sick to my stomach. Makes me mad."

The rule went into place in 2012, although Larry Truitt, president of the Maple Lawn Cemetery Association, says it hasn't always been enforced. He says the lawn mowers just happened to come the day after Mother's Day and dealt with stray flowers as usual. 

"The mowers came in on Monday... and they mowed and that meant they picked up flowers," Truitt told CBS affiliate WTTV of Indianapolis, Indiana.

"We shouldn't have mowed on the day after Mother's Day and this probably would not have happened," he said.