According to recent statistics, 62% of all U.S. households own a pet, leading to an increasing demand for cremated pet remains to be interred alongside their owners. In response, the New York State Assembly and Senate have passed a bill that allows cemeteries to provide such services, and details the requirements for such internments to take place. Should the bill be signed into law, it will give the option of interring pet cremated remains to all cemeteries that wish to provide the service.
The new bill adds two provisions to the Not-For-Profit Corporation Law. § 1502(q) defines “pet cremated remains” as “ashes and/or other residue recovered after the completion of cremation of any domestic animal that has been adapted or tamed to live in intimate association with people where such cremation has occurred at a pet crematorium…” While this encompasses traditional pets like cats, dogs, or even horses, it seemingly excludes more exotic animals like large snakes.
The other new provision is § 1510(n). This provides that the internment of pet cremated remains may only performed where it is incidental to the burial of human remains, and is limited to internment in a grave, crypt, or niche. The bill also provides that the internment of pet cremated remains requires written authorization from the cemetery corporation. Such authorization is discretionary, as the bill does not require cemeteries provide for interring pet cremated remains, and those cemeteries that do are not obligated to allow such approval “absent prior approval at the time of sale or in advance of need.” However, cemeteries offering this service must provide a list of approved charges for such internments, and all payments must be deposited in the cemetery’s permanent maintenance fund. Finally, the bill states that these provisions do not apply to cemeteries “operated, supervised or controlled by a religious corporation or a lot, plot or part thereof whose record owner is an incorporated or unincorporated religious association or society.”
The Governor now has until December 31, 2016 to sign the bill. Presumably, industry groups and the Division of Cemeteries will be weighing in during this time.
The full text of the bill reads as follows:
AN ACT to amend the not-for-profit corporation law, in relation to regulation of interments in certain cemetery corporations
The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assembly, do enact as follows:
1 Section 1. Section 1502 of the not-for-profit corporation law is
2 amended by adding a new paragraph (q) to read as follows:
3 (q) The term "pet cremated remains" means ashes and/or other residue
4 recovered after the completion of cremation of any domestic animal that
5 has been adapted or tamed to live in intimate association with people
6 where such cremation has occurred at a pet crematorium as defined in
7 section seven hundred fifty-a of the general business law.
8 § 2. Section 1510 of the not-for-profit corporation law is amended by
9 adding a new paragraph (n) to read as follows:
10 (n) Interment of pet cremated remains. The interment of pet cremated
11 remains in a cemetery corporation shall be available to a lot owner only
12 in those circumstances where the interment is incidental to the burial
13 of human remains and where authorization has been provided in a written
14 statement from the cemetery corporation. The cemetery corporation shall
15 provide a list of approved charges for the interment of such remains.
16 All payments received for interment of such remains shall be deposited
17 in the cemetery corporation's permanent maintenance fund. Pet cremated
18 remains must be disposed of by placing them in a grave, crypt, or niche.
19 Nothing in this section shall obligate a cemetery corporation to allow
20 interment of such cremated pet remains where prior approval at the time
21 of sale or in advance of need has not been received. The provisions of
22 this section shall not apply to an incorporated or unincorporated ceme-
23 tery operated, supervised or controlled by a religious corporation or a
24 lot, plot or part thereof whose record owner is an incorporated or unin-
25 corporated religious association or society.
26 § 3. This act shall take effect immediately.