Click here for our Pet Cremation Pendants
Statistics are hard to come by, but pet cremation is thought by many experts to be, by far, the most common form of disposal of a deceased pet’s remains today. This assumption comes because of local laws in most states that outlaw traditional burial of an animal except in a specially licensed pet cemetery. It is also illegal in many municipalities to place a deceased pet into a trash receptacle to be taken to a landfill. Because both of these practices do still continue despite prohibitions -- and because the practices, even where they are not illegal, tend to be shunned by society -- it has proven difficult for any group to adequately estimate their prevalence today. So, accordingly, we have no official record of just how common the other alternative, pet cremation is today.
Simply put, chances are very strong that, when your pet dies, a pet cremation service will be employed -- if not by you, then more than likely by your veterinarian or by your municipal animal control department.
Pet cremation has become such common part of today’s life that, well, some trouble has erupted in recent months and years because of the tendency for many to take it for granted. Here are some examples:
In the spring of 2008 a company near Washington D.C. generated some unexpected negative publicity for itself (and for the United States Military) because it offers pet cremations as well as human cremations. The company had been following this practice for years and had suffered no complaints. (To be clear, it’s important to note that the pet and human cremations were never conducted simultaneously or in the same facilities.) And, in fact, the company had developed a reputation sufficient enough for it to win a contract to cremate the bodies of American soldiers who died in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
But then a military officer arrived at the company’s office to conduct routine business related to that contract noticed a sign advertising the pet cremation part of the company’s business. The man began immediate steps to end the contract, and, when the idea became well known that American troops were to be cremated by a company that also offered pet cremations, even the U.S. Secretary of Defense offered a heartfelt, nationally televised apology.
The lesson is that pet cremations have become such a common part of life in the United States today that it took years for a complaint to erupt that pet and human cremations are done by the same company. In fact, even after the apology from the U.S. Defense Department, hundreds of companies across America still continue offer cremations for both pets and humans, and they have no plans to change that.
Taking pet cremations for granted has also turned into a problem from a consumer perspective. In many cases today, when a pet dies, its owners think very little of what will happen to its body. A veterinarian or animal control worker simply whisks the body away, and that’s all that concerns the owner. This late of concern for what, exactly, happens to a pets body makes the pet cremation industry ripe for unethical and even illegal behavior from unscrupulous business people.
Stories abound of pet cremation facilities simply tossing animals into dumpsters and then returning dirt to pet owners as “ashes.” Or in some cases, animals are cremated in mass, their ashes mixed together and returned to the owners in individual containers -- as if the animals had been cremated separately.
In light of these problems with pet cremation, consumer advocates now suggest that people with a strong interest in assuring that their beloved pets are properly cremated take steps to protect themselves when dealing with pet cremation companies. We will end this article with a few of the suggestions:
Make sure you get a clear description of what service you are actually paying for. Ask if you can witness the cremation. (Even you don’t intend to do this, just asking the question can help identify bad apples in the business. All reputable firms should be wiling for you to witness the cremation.) What sort of identification procedure does the company use to assure that remains returned are, indeed, their animal’s remains?
In general, good common-sense, questions are a must when planning for a cremation of a pet.
See all your Pet Cremation Pendant choices
MEMORIALS.com: Your Premier Online Source for all your Funeral and Memorial needs. We live up to our name and reputation our staff is standing by to assist you, all products with No Sales Tax & Free Delivery.