Want To Be Buried With Your Pet? NY Law Allows It

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It goes without saying that pets are family. For many of us pet owners, when our animals pass away, we choose to have their remains cremated. And when we die, what becomes of those ashes that we held on to and likely displayed in our home? Well, for residents in New York state, people are allowed to have the cremated remains of their pets buried with them.

Which begs the question: would you want to be buried with your pet?

In late 2016, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed legislation in it’s favor. 

“…making it legal for the cremated remains of pets to be interred with their owners at any of the approximately 1,900 not-for-profit cemeteries regulated by the state.” 

That is, as long as the cemetery makes no objections of it. And according to the legislation, the cremated remains of late pets must:

“be disposed of by placing them in a grave, crypt or niche.”

When the law was made official, Gov. Cuomo released a press statement standing by his decision. He declared that:

For many New Yorkers, their pets are members of the family. This legislation will roll back this unnecessary regulation and give cemeteries the option to honor the last wishes of pet lovers across New York.

We hear of laws popping up left and right concerning pets all the time.

Just a few examples are bans on declawing your cat, pet shops being forced to sell rescue only pets, and so on. But this legislation was made into law nearly three years ago. And it seems that no other states have followed suit.

The law received much praise and support from fellow lawmakers. Such as Senator Michael Ranzenhofer (R-Erie County), who sponsored the law in the Senate:

For years now, New Yorkers have desired to have their pets interred in their grave, and cemeteries will now be able to offer this burial option as a result of this new law.

It’s important to note that in order to be buried with your pet in New York, there are a few stipulations.

According to ForestLawn.com: The new law does not require cemeteries to allow pet interments, but rather gives them the option to do so.

“From companion animals to retired military service dogs, this new law honors the memory of the special relationships that exist between New Yorkers and their pets,” — George Webster, president of the New York State Association of Cemeteries.

The state’s official website, Department of State – Division of Cemeteries, clearly defines the limitations of the law. If you’d like to read them in detail, you can do so here.

But we’ve included some of the major points of the law below for you as stated on their website:


A: No.  A cemetery may choose to offer this service. In addition to board approval, the cemetery should consider giving lot owners an opportunity to vote on whether a cemetery should begin to accept pet cremated remains for interment at a lot owners meeting.  

If a cemetery decides to offer this service, it must amend its rules and regulations to explicitly allow for the interment of pet cremated remains. The amendment should make it clear pet cremated remains will be accepted for interment only where the interment is incidental to the interment of human remains. The Division must review any revisions to a cemetery’s rules and regulations and those changes do not take effect until they are approved.


A: As with any service, the cemetery must seek the Division’s approval of the price.  When reviewing the proposed charge, the Division will consider the “fair and reasonable cost and expense of rendering the services or performing the work for which such charges are made.”  By law, the entire interment charge must go into the cemetery’s permanent maintenance fund.

A cemetery’s lot prices may include an additional fee for the right to inter pet cremated remains in a lot, provided the cemetery includes such a charge in its list of lot prices. If a lot is initially sold without a right to inter pet cremated remains and such right is added later, the cemetery may impose an additional charge for that right. Because any fee for a right of interment of pet cremated remains would be part of the lot price, ten percent of it must be deposited into the cemetery’s permanent maintenance fund with the balance deposited into the cemetery’s general or current maintenance fund.

In addition, any charges for memorialization of interred pet cremated remains must be consistent with charges for memorialization of interred human remains. The entire fee for memorialization may be deposited into the cemetery’s general or current maintenance fund.

So, we must know, would you want to be buried with your pet? Purrhaps more states will start doing this if there is demand from the public for it. Let us know what you think!


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