N.Y. Pet Owners Can Soon Be Buried With Their Pets

By Daniel Taylor, Esq. on June 18, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

New regulations adopted in New York state are set to allow pet owners to be buried with their pets.

Late New Yorker Joey Ramone would not have approved.

Nevertheless, the regulations are set to take effect next month. What do they allow, and what made New York legislators consider allowing human remains in pet cemeteries in the first place?

Giving the Dog Your Bones

Under the new regulations, cremated human remains will be allowed to be interred alongside the remains of pets in licensed New York pet cemeteries, reports the New York Daily News.

However, pet cemeteries will not be allowed to advertise the availability of the human burial service, nor can they charge for burying human remains -- though legislation is also pending that would remove this last restriction.

Thomas Ryan and DJs 1 Through 3

The new rules stem from a protracted dispute between the family of former NYPD Officer Thomas Ryan and state authorities. Ryan requested to be buried alongside his three Maltese dogs -- DJ 1, DJ 2, and DJ 3 -- at Hartsdale Pet Cemetery, purported to be the oldest pet cemetery in the United States.

Ryan's wife was already buried there, but state officials initially refused Ryan's request to be buried there as well. State officials eventually relented, allowing the practice of human burials at Hartsdale -- of which there had already been about 700 -- to continue.

By popular request, state legislators decided to expand the exception to include all New York pet cemeteries. The change officially takes effect in August.

If you have specific burial plans in mind, such as being buried with your pet's remains, be sure put them in writing -- though not necessarily in your will. Check out FindLaw's Funeral Planning Guide FAQ for more suggestions.

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