Animal Burial Restrictions

Used to be, you could lay Fido to rest in the field he had happily run through during his life. But no more - at least, not legally. Although enforcement is spotty, most towns and cities prohibit burying an animal anywhere but in an established cemetery. Outside the city limits, you may be allowed to bury an animal as long as you meet county health regulations. That means, in all likelihood, that you must bury the dog fairly deep, and away from water supplies. Contact your county health or animal control department for specifics.

Most people ask their veterinarian to take care of disposing of their dog's remains. Many cities will also, for a fee of about $25 to $50, pick up and dispose of a pet's remains. You can find out local policy by calling your city or county health department or the community animal shelter.


More and more people are putting their pets' remains to rest in special pet cemeteries. Having a pet buried in a cemetery can cost several hundred to several thousand dollars. Cremation is a less expensive option, just as it is for humans.

If you've got a coon dog - a dog used to hunt raccoons - it's eligible for burial in the Coon Dog Cemetery of northwest Alabama. More than 100 coon dogs are buried in the cemetery, which was begun in 1937. The dogs don't have to be purebred, but they must be genuine coon dogs. The cemetery doesn't accept household pets - and went so far as to dig up an impostor whose owner had tried to pass it off as a coonhound.


1 3 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. 459-201.

2 For example, see Mich. Comp. Laws 287.286b.

3 Zageris v. City of Whitehall, 72 Ohio App. 3d 178, 594 N.E.2d 129 (1991), quoting Downing v. Cook, 69 Ohio St. 2d 149, 431 N.E.2d (1982).

4 For example, see Ramm v. City of Seattle, 66 Wash. App. 15, 830 P.2d 395 (1992); Gates v. City of Sanford, 566 So. 2d 47, rev. dis. 576 So. 2d 287 (Fla. App. 1990).

5Foster v. State, No. S00A2054 (Sup. Ct. Ga. Mar., 19, 2001).

6 The Standard of Care for Veterinarians in Medical Malpractice Claims, by Joseph H. King, Jr., 58 Tenn. L. Rev. 1 (1990).

7 Brotemarkle v. Snyder, 99 Cal. App. 2d 388, 221 P.2d 992 (1950).

8 For example, see 3 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. 459-305.

9 Los Angeles County Superior Court, January 1987.

10 Smith v. Costello, 77 Idaho 205, 290 P.2d 742 (1955).

11 Op. Mich. Atty. Gen. No. 6024, p. 524 (1982).

12 For example, see Fucelli v. American Soc. for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 23 N.Y.S. 2d 983 (1940) (court ordered dog returned to owner after it had been seized by New York City Department of Health without a hearing).

13 Phillips v. Director of the Dept. of Animal Regulation, 183 Cal. App. 3d 372, 228 Cal. Rptr. 101 (1986).

14 Johnston v. Atlanta Humane Soc., 326 S.E.2d 585 (Ga. App. 1985).

15 Cal. Civ. Code 1834.7.

16 Lincecum v. Smith, 287 So. 2d 625 (La. App. 1973).

17 Fort Wayne, Ind. Ord. 91.055.

18 San Mateo County Ord. Code 6.12.030.

19 Town of Nutley v. Forney, 283 A.2d 142, 116 N.J. Super. 567 (1971).

20 Schnapp v. Lefkowitz, 101 Misc. 2d 1075, 422 N.Y.S. 2d 798 (1979).

21 Cal. Veh. Code 23117, 42001.4; N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann 644:8-f.; Mass. Gen. Laws Ann., ch. 90 22H.

previousback to top