The loss of a dog can be a profound event in a pet owner's life. Arranging for the burial of a pet is not an event many pet owners look forward to. Local authorities establish rules related to the burial of pets on private property. In New York, the state government does not prohibit the burial of dogs and other pets on private property. In addition to burying your dog on your own property, pet cemeteries and crematoriums offer burial services to pet owners.
Caring For Your Pet's Remains
Upon your pet's death, the remains of the dog should be handled properly and prepared for burial. The first step is to contact a veterinarian as soon as possible if you would like a necropsy done to determine the cause of death. The body can be wrapped and placed in a refrigerator or freezer. If you plan to have a necropsy conducted, the body should only be refrigerated and not put in a freezer. If the dog is large and will not fit in your refrigerator or freezer, the unwrapped body should be placed on a cold surface such as a cement floor or concrete slab, or it can be packed with bags of ice.
Burying Pets in New York
As of October 2011, there are no state regulations concerning burial on private property in New York. Local authorities at the municipal and county level may set rules on whether pet owners can bury animals on their own property. For example, it is legal to bury an animal on private property in New York City. Generally, it is illegal to bury an animal on public lands, including parks. To determine whether you can bury your dog on your property, contact your municipal or county directly.
If you do not wish to bury your pet on your private property, or if your local authority does not permit burial on private property, you can bury your dog at a pet cemetery. Your local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals -- SPCA -- or humane society can assist you in finding a pet cemetery in your community. Generally, you can bring your dog to a pet cemetery to be held while you make arrangements with staff for your pet's burial. Pet cemeteries, as well as pet crematoriums, are regulated and licensed by the State of New York. Pet cemeteries in the state are required to care for animal remains in a way outlined by pet owners or a veterinarian.
Options Beyond Burial
Some pet owners have their deceased pets cremated upon death. A local SPCA or humane society should be contacted to determine local cremation options. If you wish to keep your dog's ashes, an individual or private cremation must be arranged. In other cases a communal cremation will be conducted with multiple pets from various owners. If you opt for a private cremation you will be able to purchase an urn from the cremation service. In addition, local authorities may have policies for collecting your pet's remains. For example, New York City will collect animal remains on weekly trash collection pick-up days if the pet is placed in a heavy duty black bag labelled "deceased animal inside."
John Costa covers travel, public policy and consumer issues for various online publications. He has also worked as a government adviser since 2005, developing policies and programs. Costa holds a B.A. in history and political science from the University of Toronto, as well as an M.A. in comparative politics from the University of York in England.