Some pet carers will spread the ashes shortly after the cremation, whilst some may keep them for a few years, and many have expressed that their pets ashes are to ‘go with them’ – placed in their coffin when their time comes - it should be noted however this is not permitted by law.
Ashes are normally scattered or buried in a place that holds special meaning for the pet or pet carer, but most are unaware of both the legal and environmental aspects involved in this. Many have asked if it is legal for them to bury or scatter their pet’s ashes on the grave of a human. The simple answer to this question is, no, not on hallowed ground in a human cemetery, a fact many choose to ignore.
An article published in the Guardian in 2009 stated that the Mountaineering Council of Scotland, together with a Welsh conservation group had asked relatives to avoid going to mountain tops to scatter ashes, because the phosphate added to the soil from the cremated bones could overstimulate plant growth. Although this article related to humans it can also include pets.
The Environment Agency has also issued guidelines for those who wish to scatter ashes on or near water. Prior to carrying out the ceremony, the pet carer should check the following things –
It is strictly forbidden to scatter ashes in areas such as land owned by the Forestry Commission or Royal Parks. However, you are allowed to scatter ashes in areas owned by the Woodland Trust. It’s always worth checking beforehand as the law does change and may apply to an area that you wish to scatter ash.
Burying ashes should not pose any threat to the environment, although if you have a specific area in mind to bury the ashes, and the land does not belong to you or is accessible to the public, then you should seek permission first.
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Dawn Murray, the founder of Living with Pet Bereavement, will have her new book published in April 2023 - 'A Guide to Pet Bereavement Counselling' will be a must for anyone looking to learn more about how to become a Pet Bereavement Counsellor or those looking to support bereaved pet carers either in a professional or informal setting. To pre-order a copy or to find out more please email firstname.lastname@example.org