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.
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…