Time for a Pet Cemetery in Long Beach?

Gerrie Schipske
Prisidio Pet Cemetery

It is illegal to bury your family pet (or family member) in your back yard. Although many people do it. They bury their family pet that is. Or maybe sprinkle a handful or two of a loved one’s cremains in their garden.

In California, it is also illegal to bury a pet in a human cemetery. Although many people ask that their beloved pet’s cremains be placed inside their casket.

Since 2017, New York State’s Pet Burial Law enables state regulated not-for-profit cemeteries to allow pet owners to inter the cremated remains of their domestic pets with them in a cemetery.

Some other states allow three sections in a cemetery: humans, humans and pets, and pets only.

Pet Aftercare has become a large industry. There is even an International Association which provides certification for Pet Funeral Directors, Pet Bereavement Specialists and Pet Crematory Operators.

There are very few pet cemetery options in California. There are several in Los Angeles County including one hidden over in Avalon, but it isn’t official. Residents have over time buried their beloved pets in makeshift graves.

Pet Haven is located in Gardena and has been there since 1948. The Los Angeles Pet Memorial Park in Calabasas is the second largest pet cemetery in the U.S. and has been providing burial services for pets for 91 years. It contains 45,000 or more animals.

There are several pet cemeteries up and down the state. Even right next door in Huntington Beach. Long Beach is home to three cemeteries, but none will take Rover when he dies.

The California Association of Public Cemeteries has issued position statement in favor of pet cemeteries: “The constraint of only burial of human remains has left many families dissatisfied by no being able to bury pets for which they are caregivers. The bond between families and their animal companions is very strong and we are not meeting the needs of our public by not accommodating their need to bury their animal companions. People grieve for their companions whether they are human or animal.

If allowed to create a pet cemetery Public Cemetery Districts would be able to help families work through the grieving process as well as give them a lasting place to visit as they memorialize their companions.”

So where to put a pet cemetery in Long Beach? There is a cemetery and memorial area in the Police Academy in El Dorado Park for the K-9 service dogs. What about the rest of us?

The obvious place would be to ask Sunnyside and Forest Lawn to set aside a small area for pets. Or how about the city-owned cemetery? Or Willow Park, which sits behind both Sunnyside and the city cemetery?

On the eastside, the city has a public service yard adjacent to the animal services and shelter, which would be a natural spot to continue celebrating our pets. Also, there is space in El Dorado Park adjacent to the dog park.

Long Beach is a pet-friendly city. It makes sense that we find a place we can visit our furry friends.



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