Pets and humans may be buried in same cemetery

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Updated: 6/18 6:15 pm
ALBANY, N.Y. - Humans and pets may be allowed to be buried in the same cemetery after a new regulation passed through the state senate.

The New York State Assembly and the New York State Cemetery Board formally adopted regulations allowing cremated human remains to be buried in pet cemeteries.

Pet cemeteries, however, cannot charge for human burials. Brad Shear with the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society said that’s a service they’re not interested in offering.

“I think it’s a challenge since probably we’re looking at a larger plot that we’re not able to charge for, and we cannot tell people that we’re willing to do it,” he said.

That’s why state lawmaker Tom Abinanti introduced the bill to the assembly. The bill upholds the idea of pet owners buried next to their pet, but it allows the pet cemetery to charge a fee and stay in business.

“People really care about their pets and some people want to have their ashes buried with the ashes of their animals,” he said. “And they should have that right without interference.”

Pet cemeteries are for-profit and have no consumer protection. This means if a person wants to be buried next to their dog, they could potentially be exhumed if the landowner sells the business.

David Fleming with the State Association of Cemeteries said that’s a concern.

“A pet cemetery owner can decide that they want to sell that property for development, and the remains can be disinterred,” he said.

While some pet owners may be interested, some said they will stick to the basics.

“That doesn’t sound good to me at all,” Albany resident Kyoshi Joe Mansfield said. “It’s almost scary I would say. I’m going to stick to the traditional way for now.”

The regulation has not been introduced to the senate, but when it is, lawmakers must unanimously pass a bill that would allow not-for-profit human cemeteries to give the option to families, who bought a lot in the cemetery, to add cremated animals. This is incidental to families. Religious cemeteries are exempt from offering this option.

It must now go to the senate for debate. If it doesn’t pass, the regulation will go into effect in August. That means pet cemeteries won’t be able to charge for human burials, so they may not offer the option.

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