Hundreds attend celebration in Colbert County to honor coon dogs

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Key Underwood Memorial Coon Dog Cemetery in Colbert County

COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – Hundreds of people descended into the backwoods of Colbert County Monday for a very unique Labor Day celebration.

They were honoring man’s best friend at the only coon dog cemetery in the world.

“Ranger,” “Bear,” “Queen” and “Boone” are just a few of the dozens of coon dogs buried at the Key Underwood Memorial Coon Dog Cemetery near Cherokee.

Created in September of 1937, the cemetery draws people from across the globe.

“They’re from Sweden, Australia, Germany, it just blew my mind,” stated Janice Williams, President of The Friends of the Coon Dog Cemetery Board.

Williams said her group is tasked with trying to preserve the history of the cemetery.  She says for 77 years, hunters have brought their coon dogs here from across the country to be buried.

But there are some requirements if the dog is not a registered champion.

“If they are not registered we need four letters certifying that the dog has treed a coon by itself and a couple of photos of the coon dog,” Williams explained.

She said four years ago, a new tradition started with the laying of pennies on the headstones.

“For this particular cemetery, it means you are leaving a part of yourself here at the cemetery and it is for good luck.”

So each year, folks come from all over to honor the hunters buried here and remember the legacy they leave behind.

The latest burial in the coon dog cemetery was this past June.  Cemetery directors said two more burials are already being lined up and the dogs are being verified right now.

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