Is It Legal To Bury My Dog in the Backyard

Tombstone for pet grave

A tombstone of a pet grave with flower.

The passing of a furry family member is never easy. And a lot of times we find comfort burying them nearby. Especially if it is somewhere in the yard where they used to love to play. But did you know that in some places it is illegal to bury your dog in the backyard? In fact, there are many places that have regulations and guidelines for using your yard for a pet burial.

It may have never occurred that laying your beloved pet to rest in your backyard could be a problem, but there are several reasons why.

Usually, the laws about animal burial are created because of health and environmental concerns. Depending on where you bury an animal, it can pose a risk to soil and water contamination. As organic material breaks down it can deposit nutrients into the soil and water in your yard. Laws and guidelines are set in place to help you know where, how deep and how best to lay your pet to rest.

How best to lay your dog to rest in your yard

  • Call your city or county health department to find out your local regulations
  • Contact your local digging authority to check for gas, electric or water lines
  • Place them in something biodegradable such as their favorite blanket or towel, wooden or cardboard coffin
  • Don’t pick a place prone to flooding or would be need to excavated in the future
  • Keep the burial site away from ponds, streams or well
  • Dig at least 3 feet deep so you can have about 2 feet of soil on top

What are the rules in the Snohomish Health District?

It is permissible to bury deceased pets in a person’s yard The general requirements include:

  • Location needs to be at least 100 feet from a well, spring or surface water (lake, river, stream, etc.)
  • Cover the carcass with at least 2 feet of soil (prevents other animals from digging it up)
  • Keep the depth of the excavation at least 3 feet above a water table (groundwater) if there is one.

Losing a loved one is incredibly difficult. And planning their burial can be even harder. But it’s best to make sure to do it correctly. It can also help to include your close friend and family for a small wake and funeral service. Having loved ones around can help ease the pain.

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