More pet lovers want the opportunity to have a companion in life and in death.
Legislation pending in New York would allow cemeteries to grant permission for people to be buried with the cremated remains of their pets. The bill, which has several restrictions, doesn’t apply to religious cemeteries.
The Empire State is one of a handful of US states paving the way for human/pet interment. New York and New Jersey currently allow cremated human remains to be buried with a pet, but only in a pet cemetery.
Cemetery operators report that families frequently ask for the cremated remains of their pets to be interred with them or placed in their lot, but only a small number of states have laws that permit pets and their owners to coexist postmortem.
- Pennsylvania allows cemeteries to have three sections: one for humans, one for pets, and one for both.
- Virginia permits cemeteries to have clearly marked sections where pets and humans may be buried alongside one another.
- Human cemeteries in Oregon accept cremated pet remains on a case-by-case basis.
- Florida does not prohibit cremated pet remains from being interred with human remains, but specifies that the ashes remain separate.
- Massachusetts legislators are still considering a 2015 bill that allows cemeteries to bury pets with their deceased owners.
Cemeteries nationwide are working to accommodate the rising demand for human/pet interment and support clients whose pets are part of the family. Pet ownership is growing. Some 80 million American homes have at least one pet, according to the American Pet Products Association.
Industry Impact — As more people request that their companion animals be buried with them and as state laws change to allow this, cemeteries must adjust their land management strategies and record keeping.
Tracking the moves of consumer products makers since 2003, Catherine Colbert is an industry researcher, writer, and blogger. Previously, she spent ample time in magazine publishing, technical writing, ad copywriting, medical writing, and marketing. Follow her on Twitter.