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Walking Fido Through Eternity: Virginia Lawmaker Pushes to Allow People to be Buried with Pets

A proposed law in Virginia would make it legal for people to be buried with their pets. Patch file photo
A proposed law in Virginia would make it legal for people to be buried with their pets. Patch file photo
With so many people spending millions of dollars on their pets and calling themselves "parents" to their pups and kitty cats, we're not too surprised by this proposed legislation by a Virginia lawmaker.

Del. Israel D. O'Quinn, a Republican from Grayson, Va., has submitted a bill to Virginia's General Assembly that would allow pets and their owners to be buried together, the Washington Post reported Friday. The bill number is HB 588.

The idea started when a retired police officer asked a funeral service if it would be possible to be buried with his pets.

A Northern Virginia pet cremation company owner told Patch Friday she is not surprised by the proposed law. "A lot of people want their pet cremated," so they can take the pet's ashes with them if they move from the DC area. She said she's heard of people asking that their pet's ashes be buried with them.

Lawmaker O'Quinn explains that his proposal would allow people and their pets to be buried adjacent to each other, and not in the same casket; also, any human-pet burial ground would be separate from a "regular" cemetery.

In Falls Church, Noah's Ark Pet Cemetery, 2726 Hollywood Road, is adjacent to National Memorial Park, a human cemetery. "We do occasionally get a request for someone's pet's cremated remains to be interned with them," a spokeswoman from company headquarters in Houston told Patch.

The Washington Post article notes that the funeral industry could use a boost: Cremations are up 20 percent to 42 percent, since 1996. Cremation is a cheaper option than burial, the article notes.

O'Quinn's proposal awaits a vote in the House of Delegates' General Laws Committee.

What do you think about the proposed law? Would you want to be buried with your pet?

 
Arva Larva February 01, 2014 at 07:06 AM
I didn't realize you can't currently be buried with a pet, or anything else. And, human-pet burials must be in a separate facility? That doesn't seem feasible in Northern Virginia. And not in the same casket? What's the issue with sharing--anyone know? If the religious don't believe animals have souls anyway, then why not? And if society is worried about sharing burial grounds with dead animals, I'm pretty sure an outdoor solution isn't ideal.
Karen Moore February 01, 2014 at 07:31 AM
Ashes to ashes...whether we are humans or animals, so what is the concern? Why not allow this in the same cemetery? I am thinking that their might be a size issue so cremation is the way to go. One's pet might turn out to be a horse.
Wildermann February 01, 2014 at 12:12 PM
Archaeological evidence of animals buried with humans during ancient times is fairly common. Numerous animal mummies have been found among human mummies from ancient Egypt. Other ancient burial sites throughout the world reveal co-mingled remains of animals and humans. Not certain but I would guess that current laws reflect influence from religion on civil legislation and the funeral business lobby. Given that the recession has left the funeral business in a grave state, one might expect that American entrepreneurs can see an opportunity to reinvent the industry and keep it alive. Here is a great opportunity for large landowners to create a market for a new kind of cemetery where one can be at eternal rest with all of their lifetime pets. Considering that many Americans spend small fortunes on their pets while they are living why wouldn't they spend extra money to be buried along with them? In several U.S. States pet cemeteries already permit the purchase of human plots giving people an opportunity to spend eternity in the doghouse. If the VA legislature is pro-business as they claim, I can't imagine them not approving legislation that creates new opportunities for enterprising business people.
Skip Endale February 04, 2014 at 04:42 PM
currently the only legal way to get buried with your pet is to eat it before you die. hence the new law.
Tom Adams February 15, 2014 at 02:18 PM
I don't understand the big problem. I have two dogs that I raised from pups, who were a very big part of my life. They both lives full lives but have past on and who ashes are still in the boxes as they arrived from the creamatorium. I have requested that their small boxes be placed at my feet before the lid is closed so they could continue on our journey together. I was told by the funeral directory that this was possible, but now I believe this bill will cancel that agreement. I really don't understand the big concern, is it a religious thing, a monetary thing or what? The bill mentioned makes no sense, just a lot more bureaucratic red tape for even the dead.

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