California Bill Would Allow People & Pets to Be Buried Together if Passed

A new bill (528) introduced by California Assemblywoman Jacqui Irwin would allow public and private cemeteries to create separate sections within them where family pets can be buried with their owners.

“Humans spend over a decade of their lives with their pets, building strong and irreplaceable bonds,” Irwin was quoted in the bill analysis. “It is natural for owners to want to keep their furry members close in the afterlife.”

Photo: Pixabay/Pexels

California Bill 528

Irwin, a Democrat, represents California’s 42nd Assembly District, including portions of Ventura and Los Angeles Counties. She noted that the bill is currently in the Senate Appropriations Committee. To date, the bill has passed both Assembly and Senate committees with zero no votes and no registered opposition. The last hearing was held on July 10, 2023, with no further scheduled hearings.

“Given the lack of opposition, and the fact that it has passed unanimously up to this point, I have to think that chances are good this bill will make it to the governor’s desk,” Irwin continued.

cat statuary on headstone
Photo: Pixabay/fotoerich

Human-Animal Bond

If 528 is signed into law, California will join New York, which passed a similar law that allows people to be buried alongside their pets, if they so choose, in a human cemetery. And the law isn’t just limited to dogs and cats. It allows for a range of different animals to be buried with their owners.

As to how it would actually work if a cemetery in California were to decide to create a space for what would be termed “co-burials,” the remains of the occupants would need to be placed in separate containers, but those containers can then be placed in the same burial spot, whether it be a ground plot, niche, family crypt, or vault, according to the bill’s wording.

Photo: Pexels/Helena Jankovičová Kováčová

Co-Burials with Pets

“Through this bill, both public and private cemeteries will be given the option to decide for themselves whether or not they allow pet and human co-burials,” Irwin explained.

Irwin added that the size and type of animals that would be allowed would also be left for individual cemeteries to develop their own guidelines.

dog in cemetery
Photo: Pixabay/1195798

Pet Cemeteries

According to the Assembly Appropriations Committee, the Cemetery and Funeral Bureau has estimated a cost of approximately $472,000 in the first year and $456,000 annually ongoing to implement Bill 528.

In addition to New York, there are only three other states that currently allow co-burials, including Florida, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. California would be the fifth, should the bill go through.

People, Pets & Planet

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