The Only Way To Be Buried With Your Fury Friend In The US


Some people are so attached to their pets they want the entire experience to be shared together – even death. For many, having a pet forever is simply not enough.

In the United States, it’s becoming more and more common for people to want to be buried with their pets. While there are no official statistics on this trend, there are plenty of anecdotal stories to go around, ones that have even enacted government bills.

There are a number of reasons why someone might want to be buried with their pet. For some, it’s simply a matter of convenience – they don’t want to leave their predeceased beloved pet behind when they die. For others, it’s a way to ensure that their pet will be taken care of after they’re gone. And for some, it’s a way to keep their pet close to them even in death.

Whatever the reason, there are a growing number of people who want to be buried with their pets. If you’re one of them, you may be wondering if it’s even possible.

It is currently possible to be buried with your pet’s ashes in most US states due to a lack of legislation against it. However, in several states, it is possible to be interred with a pet even without cremation. A growing ‘whole family’ cemetery movement will soon increase your options in the near future.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the process of being buried with your pet and whether or not it’s legal in the United States. We’ll also explore some of the reasons why people might want to be buried with their pets and how they can go about making it happen.

Reading this from the UK?

Read about being buried with your pet in England, Wales & N. Ireland in this article instead.

Can Pet Ashes Be Buried With Humans?

The answer to this largely depends on where you live. The practice of burying the ashes of both people and animals in the same grave is fairly common in some countries, Australia being one of them.

Other communities around the world bury either human or animal remains with each other depending on their circumstances, religious customs, and personal wishes.

In the USA, however, the practice is not as well-known and it is largely up to the discretion of the cemetery. Some cemeteries allow pet ashes to be buried with humans while others do not. If you’re interested in being buried with your pet, it’s best to check with your local cemetery to see if it’s an option.

Ultimately, there are no specific rules that I was able to uncover that expressly forbade the practice of burying pet ashes with human inhumation burials or indeed inurnment.

Titan Caskets

Can A Person Be Buried With Their Dog – What Each State Says?

state laws

When it comes to burying non-cremated animal remains with human remains, it gets trickier. The majority of states do not allow this, with a few notable exceptions. No state allows humans and animals to share a casket, so if you want your dog buried with you, their remains will have to be placed in the ground separately.

Below you will find a quick reference guide to which states allow the burial of pet ashes or bodies in cemeteries intended for humans. It shows which states allow for ashes to be interred with a human body, which allow for an animal’s body to be buried next to or near a human, and which enable an alternative greener option.

For more information, continue reading the article below.

StateCremated RemainsFull bodyGreen option
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming

These US States Have Specific Rules About Pet Burials With Humans

The following US states have recently passed laws that make the process of pet and master burials legally possible. None of the laws make it an obligation for cemeteries to accept and allow this type of burial, but it does make it legal to do it.

New York

On 26th September 2016, the then Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, signed Bill S02582 which gave state residents permission to bury cremated companion animal remains in one of 1,900 participating cemeteries.

It was stipulated that other cemeteries, especially those associated with religious groups, were not forced to follow the new rule.

Permission has to be given by the cemeteries before this is done, but New Yorkers can now be buried with the ashes of their pets.

New Jersey

In the Garden State, there is no legislation that says pets can be buried, either as ashes or as remains, in a human cemetery. However, human ashes can be buried with their pet in a pet cemetery.

It’s a loophole in the law that people like Debra Bjorling, owner of Hamilton Pet Meadow Memorial Park and Crematory in Mercer County, have used to bury several pet owners in their privately owned cemeteries

“The laws say that once a human is cremated, that’s final disposition,” Bjorling said. “A family can scatter a loved one’s remains in a garden, throw them off a mountain or shoot them into space. What they do with the cremains after that is up to them.”

So this is why in New Jersey, your best bet is to be cremated yourself and then join your pet in their final resting place rather than the other way round.

Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, the desire some people have to be buried with their furry friends has been approached slightly differently in the Keystone State. Here, the law allows cemeteries to have three sections – one for humans, another solely for pets, and a final area for masters and their pets.

This means that for Pennsylvanians, it’s much easier to find a local cemetery that will cater to their desire to spend eternity with their kitty or pooch.

Virginia

After initial resistance to this movement, the state of Virginia passed legislation in 2014 which gave cemeteries permission to conduct human and pet burials. These areas have to be clearly marked, but it does allow two species to be buried alongside one another. The stipulation is that the pet must have been a companion animal under Virginia law and must have its own casket.

What is considered a companion animal in Virginia?

Companion animal” means any domestic or feral dog, domestic or feral cat, nonhuman primate, guinea pig, hamster, rabbit not raised for human food or fiber, exotic or native animal, reptile, exotic or native bird, or any feral animal or any animal under the care, custody, or ownership of a person or any animal that is bought, sold, traded, or bartered by any person. No agricultural animal, game species, or animal regulated under federal law as a research animal shall be considered a companion animal for the purposes of this chapter.

source

Florida

In the Sunshine State, the rules are a little bit brighter (see what I did there?). The State allows any pet remains, namely cremated, to be interred with a human but only if the pet died first.

This means that pets cannot be added to burial plots later, and hopefully should not be euthanized to join their masters.

The other 45 states and how they feel about pet-human burials

States which have raised the issue of master and pet burials but have either have not voted through the bill or have subsequently defeated it:

  • California
  • Delaware
  • Indiana
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Washington

The Rise Of Whole-family Cemeteries

The concept of a whole-family cemetery is championed by the Green Pet-Burial Society. It suggests that as our companion animals are a part of the family, we should all be able to be buried together.

Despite the lack of legislation in many states, there are several cemeteries that have started to embrace this concept, or at least something very close to it.

Below is a list of some of the cemeteries which offer these services, but there may be more in your area which has not been included below:

Conservation Whole-Family Cemeteries

Below is a list of green cemeteries also acting as wildlife preserves that allow animal remains to be buried in a family’s cemetery plot.

Idaho

  •  Mountain View Green Cemetery, Leadore (link)

Florida

  • Glendale Memorial Nature Preserve, Glendale (link)
  • Prairie Creek Conservation Cemetery, Gainesville (link)

Maine

  • Cedar Brook Burial Ground, Limington (link)

New Jersey

  • Steelmantown Cemetery, Woodbine (link)

North Carolina

  • Carolina Memorial Sanctuary, Mills River (link)

Oklahoma

Oregon

  • The Forest Conservation Burial Ground, at Willow-Witt Ranch, Ashland (link)

South Carolina

  • Dust to Dust Green Burial Cemetery, Swansea (link)
  • Greenhaven Preserve, Eastover (link)
  • Ramsey Creek Preserve, Westminster (link)

Texas

  • Eloise Woods Community Natural Burial Park, Cedars Creek (link)

Washington

  • White Eagle Memorial Preserve Cemetery, Goldendale (link)

Non-Green Whole-Family Cemeteries

The cemeteries below allow human and pet remains to be buried together. Some also have a separate pet section. Contact each cemetery for specific policies. When contacting a pet cemetery – always make sure it is deeded in perpetuity.

Maryland

  • Faithful Friends, Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens, Timonium (link)
  • Garden of Faithful Friends at Resthaven Memorial Gardens, Frederick (link)
  • Pet Section at Parklawn Memorial Gardens, Rockville (link)

Nebraska

  • Rolling Acres Complex in Lincoln (link)

New Mexico

  • Best Friends Forever at Sunset Memorial Park, Albuquerque (link)

New York (see laws above)

  • Vale Cemetery, Schenectady (link)
  • Hartsdale Pet Cemetery, Hartsdale (link)
  • Rush Inter Pet Cemetery, Rush, New York (link)

Pennsylvania (see laws above)

  • People and Pet Gardens at Hillcrest Memorial Park in Hermitage (link)

Virginia (see laws above)

  • Noah’s Ark Pet Cemetery, adjacent to National Memorial Park Cemetery (link)

Cemeteries with Separate / Adjacent Pet Sections

A list of some states and cemeteries which allow for pets to be buried in the vicinity of their owners if not directly next to them.

Alabama

  •  “Best Friends” at The Good Earth Burial Ground, Hazel Green (link)

California

  •   Greenlawn Memorial Park, Bakersfield (link)
  •  Sierra Hills Pet Cemetery at East Lawn Sierra Hills Memorial Park, Sacramento (link)

Idaho

  •   Mountain View Green Cemetery, Leadore (link)

Illinois

  • Evergreen Memorial Cemetery, Bloomington (link)
  • The Garden of Saint Francis, Saint Luke Cemetery, Chicago (link)
  • Roselawn Pet Cemetery of Roselawn Memorial Park, Springfield (link)
  • Whispering Woods at Springdale Cemetery, Peoria (link)

Louisiana

  •  Heaven’s Pets at Lake Lawn Metairie Cemetery, New Orleans (link)

Maryland

  •  Pet Haven at Highview Memorial Gardens, Fallston (link)
  •  Petland at Resthaven Memorial Gardens, Frederick (link)

Michigan

  • The Pet Memorial of the Wade Addition at White Pigeon Township Cemetery, White Pigeon (link)

New Hampshire

  •   Life Forest (link)

New Mexico

  •   La Puerta Natural Burial Pet Cemetery Albuquerque (link)

North Carolina

  • Carolina Memorial Sanctuary, Mills River (link)

Ohio

  •  Reflections Garden at Toledo Memorial Park, Sylvania (link)

Oregon

  •   Forest Pet Cemetery, at Willow-Witt Ranch, Ashland (link)

Texas

  •   Rainbow Bridge Garden at Eloise Woods Community Natural Burial Park, Cedars Creek (link)

Washington

  •  White Eagle Memorial Preserve Cemetery, Goldendale (link)

source

Can You Be Buried With Your Pet’s Ashes In California?

The pet cremation industry is not closely regulated in California, and these rules extend to other after-life care.

The state of California currently has no laws forbidding or allowing the burial of animal cremains in a human grave. This would be down to the discretion of the cemetery in question, especially in the case of a pet burial post facto. However, a sealed casket would not be searched.

Ultimately, it is up to the cemetery owner or manager to make the decision on whether or not they allow animal cremains to be buried in human graves. They could also have a policy in place that only allows certain types or sizes of animals. If you are hoping to be buried with your pet’s ashes, it is best to check with the cemetery ahead of time to see if they allow it.

Alternatively, you can look into the possibility of being buried on private land, where the rules are less strict, or honoring your pet in another way.

Can My Pet’s Ashes Be Buried With Me In Texas?

With Texas being the second largest state in the union, there is a lot of land out there where pets and their masters could be united for all eternity, but is it possible?

While there are no specific laws in Texas governing the burial of animal remains with human remains, it is generally not allowed. When pet ashes are placed inside a casket, however, they are unlikely to be removed before burial. Adding a cremation burial later would be down to the discretion of the cemetery.

Sadly, as of writing this article, Texas has not expressly passed any legislation allowing pet owners to be buried alongside their pets in any cemetery they choose.


Frequently Asked Question about Pet Cremation

What Happens To Microchips When My Pet Is Cremated?

When a human dies, many medical devices such as pacemakers or dentures will be removed, including prosthetics and surgical implants. However, just as with pets, some other devices are left in the body.

A pet fitted with a microchip will be cremated with it still inside its body. After the cremation, a magnet may be used to remove any trace elements of metal before returning the ashes to its owner. In cases where this hasn’t been done, the owner may want to remove it themselves.

What Can I Do With My Pet’s Ashes?

When a pet predeceases you, even if you like the idea of being buried with them, you may have years or decades to wait. So what are you to do with their remains?

Here is a list of ideas:

1. Keep them in an urn around the home.

2. Scatter them in a favorite spot, such as the garden or on a favorite walking trail

3. Mix them with paint and make a portrait of your pet

4. Turn them into jewelry

5. Plant a tree with them

Tips for saving money on funerals x
Tips for saving money on funerals

6. Have them turned into a diamond

7. Store them at a pet cemetery

and finally,

8. Bury them with you when you die (in states where this is allowed)

Can I Scatter My Dog’s Ashes Anywhere?

Just as with human ashes, you have a lot of options when it comes to scattering canine ashes, but also some rules to consider.

Never scatter the ashes of your dog on land that you don’t own or have express permission to say you can do it. When scattering ashes on water, you should abide by the EPA regulations and do so at least 3 nautical miles from shore.

In reality though, if no one sees you scatter the ashes and there is a good breeze, you might risk doing it even in places you probably shouldn’t. Just don’t get caught as it won’t be worth the paperwork.

How Much Ash Does A Pet Make (Cats And Dogs)?

As mammals are made almost entirely out of water, the amount of ash that is generated by your average domestic pet is minimal. Essentially the ash is the pulverized bones of the animal, and you will be returned a very small amount of ash.

Dogs will be reduced to about 3.5% of their total body weight by cremation, whereas the average feline will be reduced down to one or two cups of ash.

This means that placing these ashes inside a human casket would be relatively simple and not take up too much room. However, spreading the ashes over a newly dug grave would certainly be seen on the surface.

Can You Be Buried With Your Pet’s Ashes In The Uk?

There are no laws giving permission for domestic animals to be buried with their masters in the United Kingdom. In fact, it is against the law to do so. However, one pet crematorium in Hampshire allows owner’s ashes to be spread with those of their pets in the same location.

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