People and Pet Cemeteries

Sep 18, 2013 | 0 comments

Dog Sculpture MarkerIn the state of New York, your cremated remains can now be buried with your beloved pet’s – but the pet cemetery can’t advertize that fact and they can’t charge extra to inter you there. A New York Assemblyman wants to change that.

A New York Daily News story on September 14 announced that pet cemeteries will now accept human cremated remains for burial alongside their pets. While this is still a rare arrangement, there’s a growing interest in being able to spend eternity next to your favorite furry friend.

The new regulation was unveiled by the state this month. The new rules resolve a two-year-old dispute that began when the state refused to allow the Hartsdale Pet Cemetery in Westchester to accept the ashes of a former NYPD officer who wanted to spend his afterlife with his three Maltese pups.

Hartsdale Pet Cemetery is the first established pet cemetery in the United States, established in 1896. It’s just 30 minutes north of mid-town Manhattan.

In a New York Daily News follow-up article on September 17, Assemblyman Thomas Abinanti, who represents the district where Hartsdale Pet Cemetery is located, said the state overstepped its authority. The reason?

While the state will allow human/pet interment, they told pet cemeteries that they could not charge extra for burying an owner’s cremated remains with those of a pet, nor could they advertize human burial options.

Abinanti wants to curtail the state’s regulation of pet cemeteries, so they can make some money selling plots to humans for burial with their pets.

There aren’t many places, yet, where you can be laid to rest with your pets. In just about every instance, the humans have to be cremated, although the pet may be buried whole body.

You may find sympathetic funeral directors who will look the other way before closing a human casket, allowing family members to slip in the cremated remains of Fluffy or Fido.Bless All Thy Creatures

A Hufington Post article from July of 2012 noted that while there are hundreds of pet cemeteries across the U.S., for a variety of reasons — regulatory and otherwise — not many graveyards of the human or pet variety now allow comingling.

While the money people are willing to spend on human funerals is shrinking, the pet funeral industry is growing. The story cites Garden of Faithful Companions, Resthaven Memorial Gardens in Fredrick, MD as one example of a booming pet-people cemetery.

There are a few other cemeteries that I know of that offer people/pet eternal resting places:

Pennsylvania: Hermitage, PA – Hillcrest Memorial Park has a section for pets and people.

New Mexico: Best Friends Forever in Sunset Memorial Park was a pioneer in people/pet interment.

Illinois: Aarrowood Pet Cemetery and Crematory in Vernon Hills, IL offers a large size crematory on site big enough for full horse cremation, a flush-to-the-ground memorial pet section, an upright monument section, an equine section, an ash scattering garden, a community columbarium, and pet and people “estates” where families can be buried their pets. Fawnwoods of Windridge in Cary, IL offers pet burial, people and pet estates, and vault-less natural burial options among nature trail paths.

Mark my words – more places will open up for people to be laid to rest with their pets. The question is, do you have to be cremated?


A Good Goodbye