When one of your animals dies, you are faced not only with the grief of loss, but also the responsibility of properly disposing of the body. The method with which you dispose of your animal's body depends entirely on your sentimentality -- you may opt for a solution as involved as a cemetery burial or as simple as literally throwing the body away with the trash. Whatever route you take, ensure that the body is taken care of in a legal and sanitary fashion.
Tip #1 - Some areas allow homeowners to bury the body in their yards. Laws vary from area to area, so contact your local animal control agency for exact instructions. In Baton Rouge, for example, small pets must be buried at least 2 feet deep, while livestock must be buried at least 6 feet deep. In Iowa, by contrast, livestock must be buried no more than 6 feet deep.
Tip #2 - Contact a local veterinarian about cremation services. Not all vets offer cremation services for deceased pets, but if they don't, they will refer you to someone who does.
Warning: Do not attempt to burn animal bodies yourself unless it is in a professional -- non-homemade -- incinerator meant for the purpose, and you have been trained for the job.
Tip #3 - Contact a pet cemetery to make arrangements for your animal's body. Pet cemeteries ensure your animal's security after burial, and may even pick up the body from your home.
Tip #4 - Ask your local animal control agency about disposing of your animal's body with the garbage. You may, for example, be able to wrap the animal in an old shirt, place it in a cardboard box, tape it shut and leave it at the curb with your other refuse.
Tip #5 - Take your animal to a local sanitary landfill. While not all landfills accept dead animals, the ones that do will dispose of the animal's body in a sanitary way.
By Tom Ryan
East Baton Rouge Parish Animal Control & Rescue Center: Who Do I Call to Help Me With a Dead Animal?
Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources: Dead Animal FAQ
Pet Loss Support Page: The Final Farewell: How to Handle a Pet's Remains
About the Author
Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.