As a pet owner and an animal lover, I have come to know that over their short lifetime, pets become a member of your family. When a pet dies, even if your family later decides to adopt a new pet, the void is never truly filled from your beloved friend. Approximately 62% of American households own a pet, so this grieving process is fairly widespread. People grieve the loss of their pets in many ways and have turned to various methods of memorializing them postmortem. Many people decide to cremate their pets after they have passed, keeping the ashes nearby in their home, but the question has remained as to what to do with the pets' cremains when the owner eventually passes.
On September 26, 2016, Governor Cuomo helped to answer this question by signing legislation that allows New Yorkers to be buried with their pets' cremains in not-for-profit cemeteries. The new bill (S.2582/A.2647) allows pet owners the option to have their domestic pets' cremains buried with them, so long as they obtain the cemetery's written consent, but this legislation does not apply to cemeteries owned and operated by religious associations and societies. The interment of the pet cremains needs to be incidental to the burial of the human remains; they can be placed in a niche, crypt or a grave with their human. Not-for-profit cemeteries now will need to provide customers with an itemized list of charges pertaining to their pet's burial and any payments that are made for the pet interment are to be deposited into the permanent maintenance fund of the cemetery.
This new legislation does not come without a lot of mixed emotions from New Yorkers. While animals cannot be buried by themselves in the human cemetery, many people do not like the idea that animals can now be buried in a plot next to where their loved one is at their final resting place. Other people are concerned with the cost that can be attributed to the addition of the pet, since the price of a burial is expensive as it is. Ultimately, there has been overwhelming support for this legislation considering that people now feel, as pet owners and lovers, their final wishes can be honored.