Mass. Bill Would Allow Pets To Be Buried With Owners

BOSTON (CBS) – Did you know your pet cannot legally be buried alongside you in Massachusetts?

Well, there’s a new push to keep you and your companion close for eternity.

Many of us treat our pets like beloved family members in life and, ever more frequently, in death.

“For families who have pets they’re a very high priority,” says Cheryl Traversi of the Animal Rescue League of Boston, which operates Pine Ridge Pet Cemetery in Dedham, one of the nation’s oldest.

“This is your daily companion. It makes sense that you would want to be buried with your animal.”

A headstone in the Pine Ridge Pet Cemetery in Dedham. (WBZ-TV)

A headstone in the Pine Ridge Pet Cemetery in Dedham. (WBZ-TV)

But at a State House hearing Tuesday on a bill that would make us the fifth state to allow pet burials alongside their humans, the idea had its critics.

“God created human beings in God’s image, and it cannot be compromised in burial,” said Stan Kaplan of the Jewish Cemetery Association of Massachusetts.

The bill’s legislative sponsor claims no cemetery would be forced to accept animal burials.

But, Rep. Nick Collins, a Democrat from Boston, said, “There are people, many people, who have a very close relationship with their pets, consider them part of the family, and we think this should be an option on the table.”

Guy Glodis of the State Cemetery Association says there are “environmental concerns, sanitary concerns, religious concerns” to worry about.

However, he understands the human-pet bond from observing his wife’s love for their shih-tzu.

I asked him – if she had to choose between being buried with the dog and buried with you, who would she choose?

“She would unequivocally pick the dog, no doubt about it,” Glodis said.

Americans are on track to spend more than $60 billion on our pets this year.

Why?

Because unconditional love and the loyal companionship that pets offer are hard to come by in this era. So, it’s no wonder some people would like to extend that companionship into eternity.

More from Jon Keller
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