Originally introduced on March 21, 2013 by Republican Mike Ranzenhofer and cosponsored by Democrat Tony Avella, Bill S4322 already passed the Senate this past March in a landslide vote of 60-0 (with one abstention). It now awaits deliberation by the NYS Assembly (follow its progress here). The bill – which only pertains to cemeteries governed by the NYS Cemetery Board – permits those cemeteries to offer this option.
The bill’s official justification states:
Increasingly, cemetery organizations are being approached by their lot owners to allow for the interment of cremated pet remains in their non-religious cemeteries.
According to recent statistics, 62% or approximately 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.
This new bill would allow for this interment only incidental to the burial of human remains and would provide important consumer protections. Cemetery corporations would be required to provide a list of approved charges and to direct all payments received for interment of such remains to be deposited in the cemetery’s permanent maintenance fund.
It should be noted that the current NY State Cemetery Law does not actually prohibit either the interment of a pet’s cremains or a full-body burial in human cemeteries, but the NY State Cemetery Board has interpreted the law as prohibiting these practices.
Last year, NY State allowed human cremains to be buried in pet cemeteries. We are moving closer to our goal of seeing Whole Family Cemeteries in NY – an issue we are currently discussing with the state government. We will keep you posted of new developments.
image from Flickr: © 2013 by diastème