Emma, a Shih Tzu mix, was a much loved pet . . . and that apparently proved her demise. Her owner passed about on March 8th in Virginia and Emma was brought to the Chesterfield Animal Shelter. The shelter was then surprised on March 22 when the executor of the estate informed it that the dog was to be handed over because the owner wanted her pet to be euthanized upon her death. The shelter pleaded that it could find many new families for Emma but the dog was taken away to be killed per the request of its owner.
It is a curious contradiction in the law. You cannot beat a dog but you can kill it as a final demand upon your death.
The dog was reportedly to be cremated. Many states prevent joint burials with animals. Virginia § 54.1-2312.01 states:
A. A cemetery company may have a section in the cemetery devoted to the interment of human remains and the pets of such deceased humans, provided:
1. The section of the cemetery property dedicated for this purpose is segregated entirely from the remainder of the cemetery devoted to the interment of human remains;
2. No pet is interred in the same grave, crypt, or niche as the remains of a human; and
3. The section of the cemetery is clearly marked and advertised as such by the cemetery company.
Likewise, 18 VAC 47-20-190 states:
. . .
14. Failing to segregate entirely the section of the cemetery dedicated to the interment of pets or the interment of human remains and the pets of such deceased humans by means such as hedge, wall, tree line, fence, roadway, or other similar physical barrier or boundary.
15. Permitting the interment of a pet in the same grave, crypt, or niche as the remains of a human.
16. If a cemetery company has a section devoted to the interment of pets or the interment of human remains and the pets of such deceased humans, any advertisements failing to clearly state the cemetery company has such section or sections in its cemetery.
17. Failing to clearly mark the section or sections devoted to the interment of pets or the interment of human remains and the pets of such deceased humans with signage that is reasonably apparent to the general public
There may be exceptions for private cemeteries.
Frankly, I fail to understand why being buried with the ashes of a pet should be barred. However, I have considerable problem with killing a pet to allow for a joint burial.
I assume that many vets would refuse such a demand but it is not apparently against the law per se in Virginia. What do you think? Should this be an illegal practice to kill a healthy pet if there are families willing to give it a home?