Is It Legal To Bury Pets In The Backyard? State By State Laws


When our pets die we have many decisions to make. One of those decisions is what to do with the body.  

While there are many different options for what to do with our pet’s body, one of the more popular options is to bury our furry friends at home. Home burials are private, personal and less expensive than other alternatives.

But Is It legal to bury pets In the backyard? Yes, in most states it is legal to bury pets in the backyard. However, many states have rules and regulations that you must follow when burying your pet.

This article will help guide you on deciding if in your particular state it is legal to bury your pet in your yard, and the many considerations you need to take when deciding on the final resting place for your furry friend. 

Pet Burial Local Laws

DISCLAIMER: Pet Burial law differs by each state and sometimes even each city has its own laws. In this article, we summarise the laws each state has on at home pet burial. However, It is best to check with your local authorities (details in the resource section at the bottom of this article) to see if there are any regulations and requirements that supersede these laws.  

AL AK AZ AR CA CO CT DE FL GA HI ID IL IN IA KS KY LA ME MD MA MI MN MS MO MT NE NV NH NJ NM NY NC ND OH OK OR PA RI SC SD TN TX UT VT VA WA WV WI WY DC

How Long Can You Keep A Dead Dog Or Cat Before Burial?

Most states require you to bury or dispose of your pet within 24 to 48 hours of your pet death.  If you are having your pet buried in a pet cemetery the local authorities will allow you to keep them a little longer as it can take a few days to arrange for burial.  

Should You Bury Your Pet In A Plastic Bag?

It is best to bury your pet in some kind of biodegradable bag or box.  Plastic can take years to fully decompose.  Many pet coffins are made of wood or cardboard that will degrade much faster than plastic and are environmentally friendly. 

How Deep Do I Need To Bury My Pet?

Most states have a minimum depth that you must bury your pet.  This usually ranges from 3 feet to 5 feet deep. This would be measured from the top of the pet.  So a small animal such as a fish or small cat would not have to be as deep as a large dog. 

Can Humans Be Buried In A Pet Cemetery?

Humans cannot be buried in a pet cemetery.

These are usually small sections located in a human cemetery, but people are not allowed to be buried in these sections due to the very small plot sizes available. 

In New York and New Jersey cremated human remains can be buried with their pets but only in pet cemeteries.

How Much Does It Cost To Bury Your Pet In A Pet Cemetery?

This can all depend on where you live and which cemetery you chose.  The average cost is $500 to $5,000+ depending on the casket you choose and what other services you want such as a memorial service, headstone, paw print keepsake, etc.  

What Do You Do With A Dead Dog

There are many different options you can choose for your deceased dog.  You can bury them at home if allowed, bury them in a pet cemetary, have them cremated or have your veterinarian dispose of the body. 

Can My Pet’s Ashes Be Buried With Me

Yes, usually the ashes of your pet can be buried with you. This is up to each funeral directory as what they will allow you to put into the coffin with your loved one.  Most have no problem putting the ashes of your pet in the casket with you. 

Can Me And My Pet Be Buried Together? 

There are certain states that do allow people and animals to be buried together.  In Pennsylvania, they allow cemeteries to have three sections – one for humans, one for pets and an area for both. Virginia also allows people and pets to be buried with each other as long as the pet was a companion animal such as a dog or cat and the pet has its own casket. 

Conclusion

If you have just lost your beloved pet, you may want to memorialize them by burying them in the backyard. 

This is a great way to remember all the happy times that you and your pet spent together.

While this is legal in most states, there are rules and regulations to follow. 

If in doubt contact your local authorities.

Resources

StateLocal AuthoritiesOther Resources
Alabamahttps://www.policeone.com/law-enforcement-directory/search/alabama/?type=police%20departmentshttps://codes.findlaw.com/al/title-3-animals/al-code-sect-3-1-28.html
Alaskahttps://www.policeone.com/law-enforcement-directory/search/alaska/?type=police%20departmentsAfter Your Pet Dies – UAF/CES Publications – University of …cespubs.uaf.edu › index.php › download_file
Arizonahttps://www.policeone.com/law-enforcement-directory/search/arizona/?type=police%20departmentshttp://cronkitezine.asu.edu/spring2010/partingwithpets/memorial.html
Arkansashttps://www.policeone.com/law-enforcement-directory/search/arkansas/?type=police%20departmentshttps://library.municode.com/ks/arkansas_city/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=PTIICOGEOR_CH10AN
Californiahttps://www.policeone.com/law-enforcement-directory/search/california/?type=police%20departmentshttps://www.petplace.com/article/dogs/pet-behavior-training/is-it-legal-to-bury-my-dog-in-the-backyard/ 
and
https://www.codepublishing.com/CA/Poway/html/Poway06/Poway0616.html 
Coloradohttps://www.policeone.com/law-enforcement-directory/search/colorado/?type=police%20departmentshttps://www.colorado.gov/pacific/sites/default/files/atoms/files/Animal-Carcass-Disposal-CDPHE.pdf
Connecticuthttps://www.policeone.com/law-enforcement-directory/search/connecticut/?type=police%20departmentshttps://www.courant.com/news/connecticut/hc-xpm-1999-03-28-9903280225-story.html 
Delawarehttps://www.policeone.com/law-enforcement-directory/search/delaware/?type=police%20departmentshttps://www.delawareonline.com/story/life/2014/01/27/when-a-pet-is-dying-owners-face-options/4943453/ 
Floridahttps://www.policeone.com/law-enforcement-directory/search/florida/?type=police%20departmentshttps://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2011/0823.041
Georgiahttps://www.policeone.com/law-enforcement-directory/search/georgia/?type=police%20departments
http://agr.georgia.gov/Data/Sites/1/media/ag_animalindustry/equine/files/laws/ocga4-5-1disposalofdeadanimals527031.pdf 
and
https://www.atlantamagazine.com/pets/how-to-prepare-for-the-loss-of-a-pet/
Hawaiihttps://www.policeone.com/law-enforcement-directory/search/hawaii/?type=police%20departments
https://www.staradvertiser.com/2011/04/01/hawaii-news/kokua-line/residential-yards-permissible-as-burial-spots-for-family-pets/
and
https://www.kitv.com/story/479827/care-of-your-pets-body 
Idahohttps://www.policeone.com/law-enforcement-directory/search/idaho/?type=police%20departmentshttps://agri.idaho.gov/main/animals/dead-animals/ 
Illinoishttps://www.policeone.com/law-enforcement-directory/search/illinois/?type=police%20departmentshttp://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=1376&ChapterID=24
Indianahttps://www.policeone.com/law-enforcement-directory/search/indiana/?type=police%20departmentshttps://www.in.gov/boah/2363.htm
Iowahttps://www.policeone.com/law-enforcement-directory/search/iowa/?type=police%20departmentshttps://www.calt.iastate.edu/system/files/CALT%20Legal%20Brief%20-%20Requirement%20to%20Dispose%20of%20Dead%20Animals.pdf
Kansashttps://www.policeone.com/law-enforcement-directory/search/kansas/?type=police%20departmentshttp://www.kdheks.gov/waste/policies/BWM_2010-P3.pdf
Kentuckyhttps://www.policeone.com/law-enforcement-directory/search/kentucky/?type=police%20departmentshttps://kyhorsevet.com/wp-content/uploads/Dead_Animal_Disposal_UK.pdf 
Louisianahttps://www.policeone.com/law-enforcement-directory/search/louisiana/?type=police%20departmentshttps://law.justia.com/codes/louisiana/2018/code-revisedstatutes/title-3/rs-3-2131/
and
https://www.vetca.org/lacd/la-lacd.php 

Mainehttps://www.policeone.com/law-enforcement-directory/search/maine/?type=police%20departmentshttps://www.maine.gov/dacf/php/nutrient_management/documents/HomeownerCarcassBurialGuidelines.pdf 
Marylandhttps://www.policeone.com/law-enforcement-directory/search/maryland/?type=police%20departmentshttps://mda.maryland.gov/horseboard/pdf/EB-421%20Equine%20Disposal%20Guide.pdf
Massachusettshttps://www.mass.gov/guides/massachusetts-city-and-town-ordinances-and-bylawshttps://www.mass.gov/info-details/massachusetts-law-about-animals
and
https://mahb.org/local-boh-regulations/animals-medfield/
Michiganhttps://www.policeone.com/law-enforcement-directory/search/michigan/?type=police%20departments
https://www.canr.msu.edu/uploads/234/53311/Proper_Disposal_of_Dead_Animals_in_Michigan_081215.pdf  
and
https://resources.lawinfo.com/insurance/pet-law/michigan/are-there-restrictions-on-where-i-can-bury-a.html
Minnesotahttps://www.policeone.com/law-enforcement-directory/search/minnesota/?type=police%20departmentshttps://www.bah.state.mn.us/carcass-disposal/ 
Mississippihttps://www.policeone.com/law-enforcement-directory/search/mississippi/?type=police%20departmentshttp://www.mbah.ms.gov/regulations/regulations_html/ch07.htm 
Missourihttps://www.policeone.com/law-enforcement-directory/search/missouri/?type=police%20departmentshttps://www.verywellhealth.com/is-it-legal-to-bury-my-pet-in-my-backyard-1131938 
Montanahttps://www.policeone.com/law-enforcement-directory/search/montana/?type=police%20departmentshttps://ravalli.us/DocumentCenter/View/197/Dead-Animal-Disposal 
Nebraskahttps://www.policeone.com/law-enforcement-directory/search/nebraska/?type=police%20departmentshttp://deq.ne.gov/Publica.nsf/Pages/06-201
Nevadahttps://www.policeone.com/law-enforcement-directory/search/nevada/?type=police%20departments
https://www.washoecounty.us/health/programs-and-services/environmental-health/waste-management-program/burial-pets-animals.php
New Hampshirehttps://www.policeone.com/law-enforcement-directory/search/new-hampshire/?type=police%20departmentshttps://www.des.nh.gov/organization/commissioner/pip/factsheets/sw/documents/sw-20.pdf 
New Jerseyhttps://www.policeone.com/law-enforcement-directory/search/new-jersey/?type=police%20departmentshttp://www.bergenwildlife.com/deadanimal.html 
New Mexicohttps://www.policeone.com/law-enforcement-directory/search/new-mexico/?type=police%20departmentshttp://www.nmbvm.org/pet-services/
New Yorkhttps://www.policeone.com/law-enforcement-directory/search/new-york/?type=police%20departmentshttps://animals.mom.me/burying-a-dog-in-new-york-8440931.html 
North Carolinahttps://www.policeone.com/law-enforcement-directory/search/north-carolina/?type=police%20departmentshttps://companah.com/faq-items/laws-and-regulations/ 
and

https://law.justia.com/codes/north-carolina/2005/chapter_106/gs_106-403.html
North Dakotahttps://www.policeone.com/law-enforcement-directory/search/north-dakota/?type=police%20departments
https://www.nd.gov/ndda/program/animal-health/livestock-carcass-disposal
Ohiohttps://www.policeone.com/law-enforcement-directory/search/ohio/?type=police%20departmentshttp://codes.ohio.gov/orc/941.14
Oklahomahttps://www.policeone.com/law-enforcement-directory/search/oklahoma/?type=police%20departmentshttps://www.oda.state.ok.us/ais/cwdcarcassdisposal.pdf
Oregonhttps://www.policeone.com/law-enforcement-directory/search/oregon/?type=police%20departmentshttps://www.oregon.gov/oprd/HCD/OCHC/docs/ochcpppetcemeteries.pdf 
Pennsylvaniahttps://www.policeone.com/law-enforcement-directory/search/pennsylvania/?type=police%20departmentshttps://law.justia.com/codes/pennsylvania/2010/title-3/chapter-23/2352/ 
Rhode Island
South Carolinahttps://www.policeone.com/law-enforcement-directory/search/south-carolina/?type=police%20departmentshttps://law.justia.com/codes/south-carolina/2013/title-44/chapter-29/section-44-29-30 
South Dakotahttps://www.policeone.com/law-enforcement-directory/search/south-dakota/?type=police%20departmentshttps://aib.sd.gov/carcass.html
Tennesseehttps://www.policeone.com/law-enforcement-directory/search/tennessee/?type=police%20departmentshttps://www.tn.gov/agriculture/businesses/animals/animal-health/mortalities/animal-disposal.htm
Texashttps://www.policeone.com/law-enforcement-directory/search/texas/?type=police%20departmentshttp://txrules.elaws.us/rule/title4_chapter59_sec.59.12
Utahhttps://www.policeone.com/law-enforcement-directory/search/utah/?type=police%20departmentshttps://le.utah.gov/~2014/bills/hbillint/HB0261.pdf 
VermontN/Ahttps://cswd.net/a-to-z/animals-dead/
Virginiahttps://www.policeone.com/law-enforcement-directory/search/virginia/?type=police%20departmentshttps://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title3.2/chapter65/section3.2-6554/ 
and
https://legalbeagle.com/6690412-virginia-pet-burial-laws.html 

Washingtonhttps://www.policeone.com/law-enforcement-directory/search/washington/?type=police%20departments
https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title3.2/chapter65/section3.2-6554/ 
and
https://legalbeagle.com/6690412-virginia-pet-burial-laws.html 

Washington DChttps://www.policeone.com/law-enforcement-directory/search/district-of-columbia/?type=police%20departments
https://www.policeone.com/law-enforcement-directory/police-departments/metropolitan-police-department-washington-dc-01EugjPYdakiZsSP/ 
West Virginiahttps://www.policeone.com/law-enforcement-directory/search/west-virginia/?type=police%20departmentshttp://www.wvlegislature.gov/WVCODE/ChapterEntire.cfm?chap=19&art=9&section=34
Wisconsinhttps://www.policeone.com/law-enforcement-directory/search/wisconsin/?type=police%20departmentshttps://www.wihumane.org/services/end-of-life-services
Wyominghttps://www.policeone.com/law-enforcement-directory/search/wyoming/?type=police%20departmentshttps://library.municode.com/wy/cheyenne/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=TIT6AN 

Sara Redding Ochoa, DVM

Raised in Calhoun, LA, Sara attended Louisiana Tech for her undergraduate school, and afterwards St. George University to complete veterinary school. After veterinary school Dr. Ochoa moved to east Texas to work in a small animal an exotic veterinarian. She lives happily with her husband Greg and her babies Ruby the schnoodle, Monkey the tortoise and Oliver James “OJ” the cat. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling the world with her husband, baking, and taking Ruby shopping.

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