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Doctor's Note: Pet Burial

Surprisingly, very few states allow humans and animals to be buried together in cemeteries. In practice, at a family member's request, funeral directors in many states informally allow an urn of a dog or cat's ashes to be tucked discreetly into a human casket before burial.

In 2014, Virginia passed legislation permitting cemeteries to have clearly marked sections where pets and humans may be buried alongside one another. But the pet must have been a companion animal and be in its own casket. My legislation, SB1070, will amend this law to allow for owners to be buried with their cremated pets in sections designated by cemeteries dedicated to these joint burials.

The idea for this legislation came from one of my constituents, who was heartbroken to learn that she could not be buried with her cremated pets but only alongside them. This is a simple fix that will provide peace to pet owners who wish to be laid to rest with their cremated pets. I am encouraged by how excited people are about this bill. This just goes to show that great ideas can absolutely come from the heart.

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