A new piece of legislation out of New York has ruled that cremated pets and their owners can now be laid to rest together. Signed into law by Governor Cuomo, this new law declares that owner and pet burials are legal at any of the publicly owned cemeteries in the state, so long as the cemetery approves it.
This new law follows behind a law passed last year that allows cremated human remains to be buried in pet cemeteries, so that owners and their beloved companions can rest together for eternity.
While this law does not apply to cemeteries owned by religious groups, there are over 1,900 non-profit cemeteries in the state of New York, which allows pet owners plenty of options for co-burials. According to the New York Daily News, President of the New York State Association of Cemeteries released a statement stating, “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.”
At this time, most states expressly prohibit owner and pet burials. New Jersey allows owners and pets to be laid to rest together, but only in pet cemeteries. Since 2006, Pennsylvania lawmakers have allowed cemeteries to have three separate sections. One is for pets, one for humans, and one for co-burials. Finally, Virginia is the strictest of the states that allows this. While humans and pets can be together in death, the graves must be clearly marked, the pet must be a registered companion animal, and the pet must be placed in a separate casket.
While it can be frustrating that not all states allow for owner-pet burials, the movement is gaining momentum, and it’s not surprising why. According to the Insurance Information Institute, around 68% of American homes have a pet. It is becoming more clear that pets are part of the family, and as such, should be laid to rest with the people who loved them in life.