In recent years, in England and Wales, this has generally not been an option. However, the practice is now becoming increasingly popular with an increasing number of pet owners seeking burials with their favourite pets.
In fact, there are now various joint animal and human cemeteries where owners can be buried close to their beloved companions rather than being cremated: cremation, of course, being the preferred (or only) option until more recent years.
A few joint cemeteries now even allow pets and owners to be buried in the same plot. The first joint burial took place in Rossendale in Lancashire in 1995.
The trend has accelerated, however, and it is likely to have been as a result in the growth of non-denominational ‘natural’ sites for humans. Such sites undertake what is often referred to as woodland burials and they use biodegradable coffins and often have woodland settings without rigid lines of plots or fixed headstones. Such layouts, clearly, make it easier to add pets and the setting is more relaxed than a conventional burial in many respects.
An estimated 1.5 million dogs and cats die every year, according to the Association of Private Pet Cemeteries and Crematoria. Apparently, around 300,000 are buried in the garden, 1,000 in pet cemeteries, 100,000 are individually cremated and the rest are incinerated as clinical waste.
Unlike human cemeteries, Britain’s pet burial sites require regular inspection by the Environment Agency acting on behalf of the Department for the Environment and Rural Affairs.
Cremation is a cheaper option and makes it easier for owners to be buried with their pet as no extra ground plot is required. However, for those of you who like the idea of spending eternity with a beloved pet, the tide is certainly turning in your favour….and rightly so.
Can I be buried with my dog?
To find out more about this or any canine law related issue contact our resident Canine Law expert Emma McGrath on 01775 662662.