Pet Owners Upset They Can’t Be Interred Next To Their Furry Friends At Hartsdale Pet Cemetery

HARTSDALE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Pet owners are fighting a New York State burial ban that prohibits their ashes from being interred next to their furry friends.

In the past century, roughly 600 New Yorkers have had their ashes buried with their pets at the Hartsdale Pet Cemetery.

However, none have been buried there since the state cemetery board abruptly decided to prohibit the practice earlier this year. The board also sent Hartsdale’s owner a cease and desist order.

New York’s Division of Cemeteries made the practice illegal and ordered Hartsdale to stop taking in human ashes on February 8.

“I don’t know why they changed their mind,” Ed Martin, the owner of the cemetery, told CBS 2’s Lou Young.

LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Sean Adams reports

However, irate plot holders say the state can’t tell them what to do with their cremated remains.  Patrons said that if the practice wasn’t reasonable, they didn’t know what was.

“Why would there be a restriction on that?  That’s crazy,” said Nancy Camp.

“I think it’s ridiculous. I don’t understand their reasoning,” Vickie Herrick said.

“You can have your ashes sprinkled over the sea, have them shot into space, so why draw the line at the pet cemetery,” said Martin.

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FILE - In this Jan. 19, 2011, file photo, headstones marking the graves of pets are spread throughout the Hartsdale Pet Cemetery, where the remains of humans and their pets have been buried together for years. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

The ban became statewide in April. Officials say remains buried in human cemeteries have more state protections than pet cemeteries. Human cemeteries must also be non-profit while pet cemeteries can be for profit businesses.

State Assemblyman Thomas Abinati, though, said the Division of Cemeteries was overstepping its authority.

“This would mean that the pet cemeteries would be the only place in the world that you cannot dispose of ashes of a cremated human being,” Abinati said.

But Martin disagrees. “This is not a huge money-maker for the cemetery. At most, we’ll do maybe between five and ten burials a year of human remains.”

What do you think about the ban? Would you want to be buried next your furry friend? Sound off below in our comments section…

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  • AmyG

    Hartsdale Pet Cemetery is a wonderful, peaceful place. As a little girl I loved wandering through the aisles, looking at gravestones, seeing RinTinTin, and understanding very early about the unconditional love that comes from a pet . It would be an honor to be buried along side or with my best friend and husband. I see no reason why to stop such practice, esp if it’s cremains. This is a well cared for, lovely asset to un-notable Hartsdale. Those making these stupid decisions should seriously reconsider.

  • Jessie Adair

    No one but me, myself and I has the right to decide where my remains will be buried. I and I alone should be able to choose where my final resting place will be. And if my pets have provided me with the greatest companionship and comfort in life and I wish to join them at Hartsdale, that is my choice and should be of no concern to anyone else. Hartsdale Pet Cemetery is a place of love. The NYS Division of Cemeteries should be ashamed of themselves.

  • Ellen Kole Ph.D.

    I purchased a plot and paid for perpetual life fees 5 years ago at Hartsdale, so that my cremains could be mixed with those of my animals, who are my true companions ,when the time comes.. This senseless, unjust edict by the Board has devastated me, and made me determined to fight until it is removed. Who are these people to tell us where and how we can be buried? I agree with Taylor York that this woould set a precedent wherein any decisions about our remains after death could be interfered with.

  • Frank Lee Scarlet

    One more instance of Government involvement where Government has no right or reason to be. Not happy with regulating your entire life, and robbing you to come up with more things to regulate and charge a state fee or tax for, now we’re even going to chase you into your state-mandated and completely legal hole in the ground. Now, about that property tax and usage fee for the rest of eternity, when may we expect the first installment?

  • JR

    For a State that is in such financial ruin, this is a total waste of taxpayer dollars trying to enforce a ridicules law. If I want to be buried along side my dog, there is no enforceable law that will prevent me from doing so. Let’s waste more tax dollars, why not enact another unenforceable law that states you can’t spit on the sidewalk, or you can’t walk down the street with a beer in your hand, or you can’t water your lawn certain days of the week…. whoops, I think these are laws! Just a demonstration of stupidity!

  • SerfCityHereWeCome

    I had actually researched this a couple of years ago. The cemetery had stated that in their (and every sane person’s) opinion, cremated human remains were no longer considered “human” and such requests would be honored. Yet another exceptionally egregious example of mindless out-of-control Stalinism in NY stomping on people’s liberties simply out of spite, without even pretending to provide a valid rationale for its actions.

  • Jill

    This is a civil rights issue and the NYS Division of Cemeteries is a perfect example of power run amok. This must be challenged – the only alternative would be to accept that the government has control not only over our lives but over our deaths!!!

    • Lisa Devlin

      I totally agree. I have had a plot there for year with the intention of resting in peace with my dogs at the end. I am writing to everyone who is involved that my ashes and my pets will intermingle legally in the end!


  • Yaicha Ennis

    There is no health reason why people’s ashes should not be allowed interred with their pets in a pet cemetery. And it is a ban created by the “Division of Cemeteries”. Therefore, obviously, it must serve the Division of Cemeteries. This is no longer a free country. Anything that interferes with a big business’s profits- no matter how small that interference- will not be tolerated. “Laws” are being made hand over fist these days for just this purpose.
    It’s high time American people fought back.

  • Judith

    Whether not the cemetery is not-for- or for-profit, if people want to be buried with their pets and are willing to pay for the privilege, what business is it of anyone else or any entity.

  • ktldy

    In 1993 I would not have purchased the plot at Hartsdale if I could not have my ashes burried there. Over the years my cats and dogs ashes have been interred there, my Mother’s ashes were scattered there per her wishes. How can the state be so stupid and cruel? Has anyone started a class action suit?

  • JustSaying

    ANY location that does not welcome the ashes of both me and my pets is NOT a location that I would want to spend eternity in, period. Save your pets ashes in their respective urns throughout your life and when you die have your ashes mixed with those of your pets. Then you should be able to be buried in ANY cemetary, human or pet as it would be impossible to separate anything but the teeth!

    • SerfCityHereWeCome

      It’s not the cemetery’s fault; they’re the good guys in this. It’s the purely evil totalitarian police state of NY which, apparently not satisfied with their usual practice of crushing the serfs, is relieving itself on grieving people just for kicks.

  • Tracy Morse

    What difference does it make whether it is a profit or nonprofit? really how much profit can this place be really making. Stupid law made by stupid lawmakers.

  • sillyoldm

    question for darwin….since pets and humans are both animals, which one are you suggesting undergo an operation….and why, if both are animals??

  • Darwin

    So let them get a species change operation and they can then die as animals and be buried as animals. If they can do sex change operations and but baboon’s hearts in people, surely they can do species change operations too.

  • Diane D

    I would want my pets’ ashes buried with me in a human cemetery!!! Why not?? The animals and I are dead, and once interred, there would be no harm to the living. The only reason why animals and people can’t be buried stems from, I think, old religious laws. And yes, I also believe animals have souls!

    • Taylor York

      If you want to learn more about this issue, go to This goes way beyond pet owners’ rights. If the Board is allowed to interfere with this, it will set a precedent by which they can interfere with every decision you may want to make about what to do with your remains after death.

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