Can You Legally Bury Your Dead Pet in the Backyard in Massachusetts?
I had an upsetting dream the other night about my cat. I dreamed that he passed away in my arms.
As my cat gets older, it's obviously something that is weighing on my subconscious mind. I have some anxiety about when that sad moment will strike our family.
When I was growing up and lost our cat, I remember we buried him in our backyard. I don't mean to sound morbid, but that is definitely something I'd like to do with our cat when our little buddy passes away someday.
I've seen Facebook friends bury ashes of their dogs in their backyards, but I've never heard of someone burying the actual dog in their backyard. In fact, I wasn't even sure if it was legal.
I decided to do some homework.
I searched through Massachusetts state law to see what I could find. Interestingly enough, there are no official laws on the books that either prohibit, condone or offer guidance with the burying of animals.
In fact, any restrictions on burying pets would be determined by town officials, particularly the Board of Health or Animal Control.
Such is the case in New Bedford, according to Animal Control Officer Manny Maciel.
"You're not allowed to bury a pet on your property without permission from the New Bedford Board of Health," Maciel says.
In Fall River, health officials did not require permission, and that city's animal control officer said there would be no issues "as long as you were burying the animal on your own property."
There were no restrictions for Fairhaven and Dartmouth residents, either.
The best bet is to check with the health board and animal control in your town to make sure you are in the clear.