The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : A Persons Dog or Cat Could Soon Be a Loyal Companion in Both Life and Death

Saturday, July 2, 2016

A Persons Dog or Cat Could Soon Be a Loyal Companion in Both Life and Death

Albany, New York - A person’s dog or cat could soon be a loyal companion in both life and death.

The state Assembly this past week gave final legislative approval to a bill that would give cemeteries the option of offering to bury people with the cremated remains of their family pets.

The bill sponsors, Assemblyman James Brennan (D-Brooklyn) and Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer (R-Erie County), wrote in a memo that cemetery organizations are increasingly being asked by their lot owners for permission to be buried with their pets.

The two lawmakers cited statistics showing 62%, or about 72.9 million U.S. households, own a pet. “With this increased ownership has come a significant shift in the desire of New Yorkers to have their pets interred in their grave, crypt or niche,” they wrote.

According to the bill, cremated pet remains must be disposed of by placing them in a grave, crypt, or niche.

A cemetery would not be obligated to offer the option. And religious cemeteries are exempted from the legislation.

Leona Helmsley, the hotel magnate dubbed “The Queen of Mean” who died in 2007, 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 once the Maltese went to doggie Heaven.

But 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.

Helmsley, who cut two grandchildren out of her will and evicted her son’s widow after his death, had left her beloved dog a $12 million inheritance, though a judge subsequently reduced it to $2 million.

The bill allowing for humans to be buried with their pets passed the Senate in March and the Assembly this past week.

Gov. Cuomo spokesman Richard Azzopardi wouldn’t say whether the governor will sign the bill into law, saying only it will be reviewed.

The state in 2014 enacted a regulation that allowed pet cemeteries to accept the cremated remains of humans who wanted to spend eternity with their pets.

Leona Helmsley, who died in 2007, had will made demanding that her dog be buried with her.

Both Hemsley and her dog died before the bill was pushed for owners to be buried with their pets. 


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