State officials have finalized rules allowing pet cemeteries to accept the cremated remains of humans.
The cemeteries can bury pet owners' ashes as long as they don't charge a fee for it and don't advertise human burial services.
New York's Division of Cemeteries put a halt to human burials at pet cemeteries in 2011 after an Associated Press story about the practice. It later relaxed the ban on a limited basis and began working on permanent rules.
Ed Martin, owner of the 117-year-old Hartsdale Pet Cemetery in Westchester County, says he gets five or six requests a year from humans who want to have their ashes buried with their pets.
At Pine Rest Pet Cemetery in West Seneca (pictured this page) they have several headstones bearing the names of both pets and owners, with some engraved before the human's death.
The practice has been underway for years, according to owner Ed Jordan who estimates far under one percent of his 20,000 internments are of human remains.
"The people that want to be with their pets are such a minority. These are people that either don't have any human relatives or if they have human relatives, they are on the outs. I had one woman tell me that the only person or thing she could trust was her dog, Jordan says.
Jordan says Pine Rest has interred everything from robins to lizards, and even a gorilla. They operate two crematoriums on site, and feature small funeral parlors for the pet person who wants the more traditional services often reserved for humans.
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PINE REST PET CEMETERY
If pet cemeteries aren't just for pets anymore...
Funeral Homes aren't only for people either.
"Pets arent just furry creatures any more. They are part of the family, and people are as attached to thier pets as they are their own family," says Joe Wales, who operates Pet Heaven Funeral Home in Orchard Park.
The facility has mulitple viewing rooms, and has even held religious services, Wales says. They also offer a selection of elaborate urns - or even caskets - available for purchase. (pictured above)
The facility, on Orchard Park Road also has a crematory that has taken care of monkeys, fish and other more traditional dogs or cats with viewing facilities available.
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