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Funerals/Indiana-can humans be buried at a pet cemetary

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Question
Lisa,
I do rescue work with small animals (cats).  I end up adopting most of the pets I rescue and consider them my family members.  When I first started rescue work, I did not anticipate how expensive it can be to have pets cremated, so that they can be buried with me.  


I live in northern Indiana, in a heavy snow belt.  When the weather cooperates, I've buried a few pets in my yard and have planted blue spruce trees or other shrubs to mark their graves.  My 1.25 acre property is a former farmstead, with only a historic barn (built 1895# and farmhouse #circa 1900) remaining.  Recently there have been plans for a large subdivision that will surround 3 sides of my property. I am concerned that at some point in the future, after my death, the property could be changed and my cats' graves disturbed, or future nosey neighbors could be concerned about having pet graves on my property.   I am also wanting to be buried as near as possible to my "fur kids".  To the best of my knowledge, pets that have already been cremated could be buried with me-so that shouldn't present a problem.  What I would like to do is something similar to what I've seem in an older township cemetery (est apx 1820) where there is a family plot with one large marker surrounded by the graves and small markers of family members. I would like to be able to purchase land in either a pet or human cemetery that would allow me to bury my pets there, until the time of my death, at which time I would be buried, along with my previously cremated pets. I want to follow green practices as much as possible both for my pets and myself, without embalming, and for myself, either a simple wood or cardboard casket or possible cremation.  Keeping costs under control is also an issue.  Is something like this possible?  I have a time issue right now because one of my 16 yr old cats passed away last night and I need to either buy her at a pet cemetery or have her cremated.  

Kindest regards for any advice you can provide on this topic.  I know there are many people that feel as I do about their pets, although they many not have as many of them as I do.  

Linda

Answer
I am not aware of any statutes in Indiana that would affect your wishes. That said, each cemetery is allowed to make up its own rules and regulations, so I would have no way of knowing what's available locally. You should simply start calling around to see if any will allow both pet and human burials. I'm guessing you might find a willing one in a small county cemetery. I wouldn't rule out church cemeteries, either. Good luck.

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Lisa Carlson

Expertise

Funeral Law. Having written a 512-page book on funeral law for consumers with state-by-state information, I am very conversant with consumer rights in this regard: What are the laws on disposition of cremated remains? Is embalming required? Do I have to use a funeral home? Can I have a home wake? Is it a state law to buy a vault? I prepaid for a funeral but changed my mind. They won`t give me all my money back. What can I do? . . . If you have an immediate need for information because a death has just occurred or is about to occur, you may call me at 802-482-6021.

Experience

I have monitored the funeral industry on behalf of consumers for over 20 years. I have been a guest speaker to funeral trade organizations, consumer workshops, and social service professionals. I am regularly consulted by lawyers and legislators as well as journalists.

Organizations
Funeral Ethics Organization (www.funeralethics.org) Funeral Consumers Alliance (www.funerals.org)

Publications
Caring for Your Own Dead (1987) Caring for the Dead: Your Final Act of Love (1998) I Died Laughing: Funeral Education with a Light Touch (2001) Final Rights: Reclaiming the American Way of Death (2011) with co-author Joshua Slocum

Education/Credentials
Masters degree in Administration and Special Education

Past/Present Clients
Available as an expert witness for funeral-related court cases.

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