NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A Queens cemetery was fined $600 for having flower receptacles that contained water near gravesites, WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reported.

WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman On The Story

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City health inspectors showed up at the All Faiths Cemetery in Middle Village the Thursday before Mother’s Day.

The Health Department said they found mosquito larvae there, which can lead to the spread of West Nile Virus.

Cemetery worker Dan Austin pointed out that cemetery visitation increases around Mother’s Day.

Austin said his staff does perform its own inspections and they even turn off the water during mosquito season, despite objections.

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But with 500,000 people buried there, Austin, a former NYPD detective, said he just can’t catch everything.

“They’re picking on the dead,” Austin told Silverman. “You would have to be a functional illiterate to think I could possibly control this.”

He also said that the city never showed him or his staff the mosquito larvae.

“I was always taught by the city the evils of shaking people down, and extortion. I enforced the laws,” he said.

The Health Department also released the following statement: “All Faiths Cemetery received violations for standing water in vases and flower pots that contained decaying organic material and mosquito larvae. Standing water is conducive to mosquito breeding species which are responsible for transmission of West Nile Virus.”

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