New Yorkers can be buried with their pets under new law
Gov. Cuomo signed legislation making in legal for New Yorkers to be interred with their pets if they choose to.
Pet owners can now take their beloved companions with them to the grave.
Gov. Cuomo on Monday signed legislation making it legal for the cremated remains of pets to be interred with their owners at any of the approximately 1,900 not-for-profit cemeteries regulated by the state — so long as the cemetery goes along with it.
“For many New Yorkers, their pets are members of the family," Cuomo said. “This legislation will roll back this unnecessary regulation and give cemeteries the option to honor the last wishes of pet lovers across New York.”
According to the legislation, cremated pet remains must be disposed of by placing them in a grave, crypt or niche.
The new law, which does not apply to cemeteries owned or operated by religious associations or societies, comes three years after the state made it permissible for pet cemeteries to accept the cremated remains of humans wishing to spend eternity with their animals.
It also comes a year after lawmakers passed a measure allowing dog owners to take their pets in the outdoor sections of willing restaurants.
State lawmakers approved the new bill during the final days of the Legislature’s session June while leaving other more weighty issues — including a measure championed by The Daily News to help victims of child sexual abuse obtain justice — unaddressed.
“For years now, New Yorkers have desired to have their pets interred in their grave, and cemeteries will now be able to offer this burial option as a result of this new law,” said Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer (R-Erie County), who sponsored the law in the Senate.
Supporters of the measure cited statistics showing that 62% of U.S. households contain a pet.
“From companion animals to retired military service dogs, this new law honors the memory of the special relationships that exist between New Yorkers and their pets,” said George Webster, president of the New York State Association of Cemeteries, said in a statement Monday.
Among the most famous pet owners who wanted to be buried with their pets was Leona Helmsley, the hotel magnate dubbed “The Queen of Mean” who died in 2007 and had in her will that she wanted her pampered pooch “Trouble” interred with her in the 12,000-square-foot family mausoleum in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Westchester County.
While Trouble was cremated after her death in 2011, she could not be buried with her former master because of the state law prohibiting it.
Under the new law, cemeteries wishing to accept pet remains would be required to provide consumers with a list of charges for the service. Revenue from the interment of pet remains must be placed into the cemetery’s permanent maintenance fund.