Pet Burial Options
Backyard burial is something many pet owners consider. For a small ‘pocket-sized pet’, like a hamster or budgie, this may be okay. For any pet larger than a budgie or hamster, you must think about environmental and public health considerations of a home burial, as well as long-term peace of mind.
For a number of reasons, home burial is not generally recommended. While it is acceptable and easy to bury or scatter ashes somewhere special, the burial of a pet’s body is something you need to think long and hard about.
Under the Oak Tree
While there may (or may not) be bylaws or regulations directly related to pet burial in your municipality, bereaved pet parents should be aware that the burial of animal cadavers on privately-owned property in municipalities is not recommended and burial on public land, such as provincial parks, is forbidden.
Before you consider a home burial, ask yourself:
- do I have the right tools and am I physically able to dig a burial hole that is deep enough to ensure it will not be disturbed?
- will I always live in this home? If not, what will I do about the burial site?
- will I always have access to the burial area?
- is my proposed burial site on private land that is not my own?
- is my proposed burial site on public land, where burial is forbidden?
- do my religious preferences or spiritual beliefs guide me to burial or cremation?
Other Burial Facts:
Although unpleasant to think about, concerns about pet burial of cadavers are very real and include (but are not limited to):
- Toxins from a decomposing body can leach into the surrounding soil and affect ground water. These toxins may include euthanasia drugs, chemo drugs and/or any other prescribed medication your animal may have been administered.
- Scavenging animals – such as birds of prey, stray dogs and cats, and other mammals – may dig up the body and, if there are any trace chemicals, they may die after ingestion.
- A burial is not a ‘final resting place.’ If you move from your home, your pet’s remains may accidentally be unearthed at some point in the future.
- If, at a later date, for whatever reason you need to exhume your pet’s body and choose to cremate it, the remains may not be identifiable as that of an animal. From a legal standpoint, pet crematoriums should not accept ‘questionable’ packages for incineration. Doing so could be viewed as tampering with evidence in the event that a criminal investigation was to be conducted.
- Be aware that under no circumstances will Honor Your Pet assist take responsibility or participate in exhuming the body of a buried pet.