TDNCLA: Where Can I Bury My Pet?

March 29, 2013
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Dear TDNCLA,

Fido has taken a turn for the worse.  I blame myself–I should’ve never let him watch Lassie.  It put all sorts of heroic ideas into his little dog brain.  It looks like Fido is not going to make it and the thing is, I sort of don’t know what to do with a dead body (that can’t be flushed down a toilet, RIP Mr. Fishy).  I could take a page from The Sopranos, but since I didn’t commit a crime, I’m happy to dispose of the body legitimately.  But they sort of didn’t teach body dumping in home ec.  Any reason I can’t just throw him in the garbage? Maybe bury him in the public park? Any reason I can’t just cremate him myself? Also I think my husband is cheating on me and I may soon be in need of similar human-related advice. Thanks!!

Love,

Mortician-in-Training

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Hi MIT!

First let me just say I’m sorry for your loss. I totally hear you on the media setting unreasonable expectations for animals–I can’t even begin to tell you how many pet whales I lost after just one Free Willy Movie night.

Second, MIT, you’re not doing me any favors here.  I’m trying to write a humor column and RIP Fido is no laughing matter.  This post is definitely going to appeal only to the underbelly of society, the animal sadists and cat lovers of the world.  Oh well! Better to be loved by sickos then not at all.

Basically, and perhaps surprisingly, the garbage can be a kosher route legally (if not morally, emotionally, or kids-will-continue-to-love-you-y) for pet disposal.  For example, NYC’s 311 hotline (not to be confused with 411 which you used prior to Facebook to try and find out your ex’s phone number) has these helpful guidelines:

The City cremates dead pets for a fee. You may also place a dead animal in a heavy-duty black plastic bag or double plastic bag and put it out on the day of garbage collection with a note taped to the bag stating “dead dog” or “dead cat,” for example. Animals that may have been rabid should not be put in the trash.

Nice. So the government will help you in taking care of Fido (thanks tax dollars!). But be sure to choose your pets wisely, as apparently some states aren’t in the business of picking up your dead horses or cattle for free (I’m talking to you, Houston.)

But maybe you’re self-sufficient and maybe you don’t live in a teensy 200-square-foot NYC apartment and actually have a yard to bury Fido, with a doggy tombstone and all.  Well, just know that cities generally have fairly specific ordinances about how deep Fido must be buried, and how far away from power lines and water sources. (Come to think of it, maybe the lack of any front-yardage is the reason that NYC tap water is delicious after all.)  You may have thought Six Feet Under was a hit HBO show featuring Michael C. Hall before he defected to Showtime as Dexter, but it’s also a legal requirement (albeit for humans, and not one that Dexter ever seems to follow, spoiler alert).

If you’re worried that you don’t have a Pyrex® container big enough for Fido, and you don’t have a Container Store nearby, worry not – Amazon has got you covered: Memorial Gallery Pets has got all sorts of commemorative knick knacks, including the “Pet Casket- Faithful Friend.”  Or if you do go the burning route, this Red Brass Paw Print Pet Cremation Urn.  Sure, there’s no FREE Super Saver Shipping, but doesn’t man’s best friend deserve the best?

As to burying Fido on other people’s property, well, don’t.  There’s a little known something called trespassing.  Ditto goes if you’re a renter and not an owner of your apartment–you can’t start your own private pet cemetery in your landlord’s back yard without his permission.  I mean you can wake up at 4 a.m., dig a hole, bury the body, and hope no one notices, but odds are someone will mistake you for a murderer and you’ll be doing 25 to life over a big misunderstanding.

The bottom line is that the law definitely has something to say about animal burials, but like, is the popo really going to go after you when little baby Cindy runs crying outside saying “Mr. Office-h, is Fido weaawy dwead? He was mwy bwest fwiend in the whooole wowld!”  I think not.  She’s suffered enough.

Love,

Luci Lawless

 

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