Starting Tuesday, pets are no longer allowed on the grounds of Arlington National Cemetery.
The new rule does not apply to service animals or working military dogs.
In a statement on its Facebook page, cemetery officials said the mission of the cemetery is to “lay to rest those who have served our nation with dignity and honor.
“And while we know that pet owners intend no disrespect to our veterans and military families, non-service related animals on cemetery grounds can and have impacted the decorum of both funeral services and ceremonies at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.”
Officials did not give any specific examples and were not immediately available for further comment.
The statement went on to say that the new policy “has been deemed necessary to alleviate these impacts and continue to provide the type of respectful and contemplative space that Arlington National Cemetery strives to be for all its guests.”
Several commenters on Facebook shared their opinions on the cemetery’s new policy, most in support.
Kathleen Makros wrote: “It should always have been this way. This is hallowed ground, not a dog park.”
The pet policy comes as the cemetery also is putting into place more security and screening measures. Soon all motorists entering the cemetery will have to show officers a valid driver’s license, and their vehicles will be subject to random inspections.
The heightened security comes after a July 2015 shooting at a Tennessee recruiting center.
Each year, between 3 million and 4 million people visit the more than 600 acres of the cemetery. One of the most popular sites at the cemetery is the Tomb of the Unknowns, which sits at the top of a hill.
An inscription on the tomb reads, “Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God.”