The Pet Cremation Conspiracy Theory and the Hardest Lesson I Have Ever Learned

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My Angel

My Angel

I hate conspiracy theories, I am not a believer but I think I have uncovered one!

This is probably the hardest article I have ever written.  Usually writing comes pretty easily to me, don’t get me wrong I have my bad days and my writers block days where I want to write but clear thoughts don’t really enter my mind in a coherent way; but this article is different.

It has taken me 7 months to get to a place where I could even contemplate writing it and it breaks my heart, but I am hoping my story will save other people the heart ache I have gone through.

As many of you know, my “angel in fur” my “furry soul mate” my “heart dog” died in September of last year.

Cancer had invaded his lungs and I didn’t know until it was too late, I woke up he was having trouble breathing and he had to be euthanized that day;  he had been so stoic that there was no warning that he had been battling cancer.

A piece of me died that day, a big piece.

Euthanizing your pet, your family member is hard enough, it is devastating to say good bye and I realized it is almost equally hard to pick up your pet’s ashes post euthanasia and cremation; but I had always wanted to be buried with my special dog when I died.

I was a vet tech for many years, so I guess I just trusted the veterinary/cremation process and took some of my knowledge and expectations for granted.  I made sure after my dog had been euthanized that I would be getting him individually cremated and that I would get just his remains… I paid for that, but I didn’t drill the ER clinic about who they contracted with and what my expectations of his treatment post death would be;  I assumed that the rituals I had known as a vet tech were standard in all/most (especially a well- known ER clinic) within the veterinary world.

I guess this was my mistake and I am here to make sure it is not yours.

When I went to pick up my baby’s ashes, he had been disposed of in a Ziploc bag, which had then been put in a velvet bag; however  the Ziploc bag had sustained several holes in transit and so his ashes had spilled out into the velvet bag and to add insult to injury there was no documentation of substance.  There was a tiny paper hand written tag that had been looped onto the bag with his name on it, but that was it.

There was no information or certificate on when he died, who had cremated him and when, how much he weighed or any kind of certification at all; no metal tags that had followed his body through the process… there was just kissing nix

I was livid.  As a former veterinary technician I knew that a good crematory has the veterinary hospital tag the body with a metal tag and this tag and number follows the body through the cremation process to provide some kind of documentation to the individual cremation.

I of course complained to the veterinary clinic, to my regular veterinary clinic, and to any other veterinary clinic that would listen.


As I did more research into the pet crematory business I learned that most people don’t realize and honestly most people don’t want to know that there are really no regulations for pet crematories.  This is a multi-billion dollar service and NO ONE is regulating it, not state veterinary board, not the department of agriculture, animal control, there is literally no governing body that regulates or sets standards for pet cremations.

You think you are paying for a “private or individual” cremation (depending on the lingo of the chosen pet crematory) but in most cases you are getting “co-mingled” ashes with several other pets and sometimes other animals. Even though people think they are paying to get ONLY their dog back.

Pet crematories are nothing like human crematories.

If another human was found in the incinerator of a human crematory, officials would be calling for the shutting down of the business and the business owner would be looking at mandatory prison time.

But that is not the case with animals.

Who Else's Ashes Do I Have??

Who Else’s Ashes Do I Have??

Pet crematories claim that they can safely separate the ashes with barriers and cremate several pets at once, but if that were true why then is it not allowed for people??  And why is it not regularly disclosed to pet owners who think they are only getting their pet back.

The Problem with most Pet Crematories is…

The problem is that most pet crematories contract with vet clinics not the pet owner.  You leave your beloved pet with the vet (thinking he will be in good hands) and the crematories pick up animals in mass quantities.  The vet clinic has no knowledge of what happens behind closed doors and may even believe that your pet will get individual treatment;  they may have even visited the crematory or witnessed a private cremation, but that does not ensure that that is how the business is regularly run (everyone is on good behavior when visitors are there).

The Sad Fact is…

The Actual Bag with Holes

The Actual Bag with Holes

The veterinary practices make money, usually a percentage, on the cremation of your pet, and the crematory with the best price gets the most business… but in order to meet demands many crematories fall to fraud; communally cremating a mass amount of dogs and then giving pet owner some of the cremains of whatever animal or animals were incinerated.

In many cases the vet hospitals don’t even realize it; and if questioned they are reluctant to switch providers because of the amount of profit they make from the cremation.

I am not saying all vets are crooked or that all crematories are bad.  Just that there are no regulations, and most people are driven by money. I’m sure there are people with good ethics out there trying to be ethical.

This would be like human hospitals taking control of the loved one of someone who died and contracting to dispose of the remains without the approval or knowledge of the family or knowing where the remains are going.

Most pet owners don’t even know the name of the cremation business until they pick up the ashes, in their state of shock and sadness they trust their veterinary clinic to contract with someone who is reputable, I know I did.

But I will never again leave my pet to be taken care of by someone else.  Even when I tried to research the business and I searched pet crematoriums in this area, this business doesn’t even come up.  No website, no listing, no yellow pages add, the only listing is for a kennel the same people run.  The vets seem to be the only ones that even know these people provide this service?  This also makes me question their integrity as does the fact that the business owners own several other businesses that provide a variety of services, one being carcass removal for the highway department.

The ER clinic doesn’t want to get involved because they don’t want to lose money and have to hire a more credible but more expensive crematorium.

Because of the bad business practices of one crematory their actions have forced me to research this business and who regulates it… and the answer is really NO ONE.

Although I have logged complaints with vets, the BBB, Consumer Relations, the State Veterinary Board, and the Attorney General no one wants to take action, admit fault, or make a change.

After a major lawsuit, Illinois enacted a law after fraud was found to run rampant with crematories in the state, but the law still allows for the presence of “other” cremains with the pet (and no amount is stated), so private or individual cremations are still not ensured and businesses are protected by law.

Do the Math

Nix at RiverWhen I spoke to a local pet crematorium sharing my story and searching for information they informed me that it takes several hours to cremate just one small to medium sized pet.  Running two incinerators all day, I was told they could only cremate a maximum of 8 pets per day (small to medium sized) and larger pets would of course take longer.

The incinerator needs to heat to the appropriate degree, cremate the pet efficiently, and then cool down for ashes to be collected.

The numbers of pets taken in, and pets returned usually just doesn’t add up!

And, it is expensive with the costs of energy, fuel and manpower.

And When I Contacted the Media?

No one wants to help.

Even though I did the research and I can prove that there is a large amount of fraud in the pet cremation business and I can even prove that the remains that I received back weigh more than they should for a pet of his size, no one wants to get involved.

Many people don’t want to think, or know that the boxes of remains around their homes are not really their pet.

A friend of mine in another state also had her large dog (80#) euthanized and cremated the same week I lost my boy, and when her dog was returned the cremains weighed the same as her cremated cat (10#).  A friend of hers had also shared that when his wife went to find the metal piece from an earlier surgery in the ashes and it was missing, they too knew the ashes they had received were not those of their family pet.

And I have heard countless stories of others who know the remains they got back weren’t their pet.   The only avenue pet owners are left with is privately suing the cremation company, but since these businesses are not forced to keep records there is often no way to prove a claim.

Several exposes have been done on this kind of business but on a small level find more stories to validate my claim that I will link at the end of this article for those who are interested.

So What Can You Do if You Want Your Pet Individually Cremated?

urn1Do your own research!!!  Don’t go through your vet, no matter what they say or how much you love them.  They may not know!

I even question the crematory our old clinic used when I was a tech… although I had visited during an open house, I have no idea what really happens and I learned that metal tags are a good sign but not insurance.

It was too late, but I did my research after the fact.

I visited crematories and spoke with staff.  Most places will allow you to make your own arrangements with them that can help give you piece of mind.  Most of these businesses will also pick up your pet, even if your vet doesn’t usually contract with them.

However I have also learned that there is no way to know for sure unless you are there.

As distasteful as it sounds unless you can see inside the incinerator, watch your pet go in, and stay throughout the process in the room, there is no way to be 100% sure that you are only receiving your pet’s ashes.

There is only one cremation service that I could find at the time of my research that provided a 2 camera recorded certification to ensure that what you are seeing on video is what is truly happening.

As a Naughty Baby

As a Naughty Baby

Pets are no longer just “possessions or property” to most people, they are family and they deserve dignity in their lives as well as their death.

I wonder how many pet owners wish to be buried or sprinkled with what they think is their pets remains?

I will never be able to get him back, and my heart will hurt about that for the rest of my life.  I will also always blame myself…

What would you have done?

Please share this information, perhaps together we can make a difference and make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else.  This is and will always be one of the most painful things I have to deal with knowing I will never have my dog and just his ashes.

Maybe if this article circles the country and the globe enough times together we can change some laws and make pets matter!
  Note on this one 2, 3 or 4 pets may be cremated as “private cremation”


There are 177 Comments

  1. Irma says:

    I probably should have done the same with my baby she died on either 10/31/16 or 11/1/16 stupid vet wouldn’t even tell me am in California and the vet that did the optosy on her send her remains to angel paws in San Marcos ca to get her cremated I didn’t know that I could be present for her cremation I got curious and I called them directly to find out if I could be there and they said I could as long as I upgrade to their platinum pkg and I did and I was suppose to be there on 11/10/16 for her little viewing and cremation but is so weird that they call me yesterday 11/7/16 and left me a message that they had to cremate her on Sunday 11/6/16 according to them cuz they had an outage in their area and their freezers went off and supposedly the dog budys decompose so bad that they couldn’t allow me the private viewing and cremation with my baby but again is so weird nothing made sense cuz according to them they discover it once they got back in on Monday from been off on the weekend so if they were off during the weekend how is it that they supposedly cremated my baby on Sunday not only that I check their web site and it saids they open 7 days a week from 9am to 5pm now I don’t know if when they send my baby’s ashes to the vet for me to pick up now how can I know if am really getting my baby’s ashes is all confusing worse thing is that is my understanding that no one regulates the pet crematories no one over sees them doing the right thing to them is just a business their source of income and they don’t understand that to us is not just cremating any dog been found dead in some street they are our love ones and they don’t seem to respect that who nos what am getting in the urn am so hurt first damn stupid vet kills my baby and now I can’t even be sure am getting her ashes back home is so obsurd the things people can do for money they don’t realize the damage they cause the problem is that no one does anything to fix it…


  2. Amanda says:

    My soul mate (dog) Spirit passed away Dec 9th 2016. I took her body myself to the pet cremation and had them walk me through the process. I paid for a Private cremation and a viewing but when it came time to watch her be put in the fire I couldn’t do it. I waited on the waiting room instead. It took about 90 minutes to have a 15 pound Chihuahua cremated, cooled, packaged and returned to my arms. I did wonder how the could cool her so quickly but I was under such grief i wasn’t in the mood to ask questions. I was certain it was her ashes…….until I got home. I was looking through her ashes because I just wanted to be close to her. but what i saw was so confusing. it looked like sand. it had colored bits of blue, green, and other speckles i couldn’t explain. The thought that this may not be her ashes is what led me to search and find your article. This place was so professional. The absolute best. I can’t imagine how they would not be her ashes but something in me has serious doubt….what should we do?


    Minette Reply:

    I wish there was something that could be done… but until someone has the ability to get someone in power with laws involved there will be no change.


  3. Richard Melrose says:

    Krista, you are correct that part of the cremation process is to go through and separate out any metal that may be left after the actual cremation stage. It has nothing to do with preventing holes in plastic bags, though.

    The reason is that after the actual cremation, there are still many pieces of whole bones which legitimate businesses put into a processor/pulverizer along with the ashes ( people don’t want to get back significant bone pieces; they expect ashes, so pulverizing the bone fragments is part of the process ).

    Because of this, metal pieces are certainly separated out from the ashes/bones so as not to damage the pulverizing equipment, which is basically just a heavy-duty, stainless steel processor which is powerful but not really that large of a machine because it’s designed to process the bones/ashes of only one pet at a time.

    In fact, when I read that Minette’s friend didn’t get the metal piece back with their pet’s ashes, I thought, well actually that might be a good sign that they did get a reputable crematorium business .. because it probably means that: 1) the cremations remains were sifted through so as not to damage their processor equipment; .. and 2) the only likely reason they would do that is because they’re probably processing the remains properly. A dishonest crematorium wouldn’t even take that extra step to process the bones; instead, they’d just scoop up a pile of ashes from the overabundant amount of regular ashes that would be available if they were just doing dishonest mass cremations.


  4. Richard Melrose says:

    Amanda, I’m so sorry for your loss of Spirit, no doubt a precious part of your soul. I firmly believe that as our beloved furry family members take a piece of our soul with them, they also leave a piece of their soul with us; and I believe that when we pass from this physical life over to our spiritual existence, our soul will be reunited with every being that we’ve traded pieces of our soul with.

    Anyway, I just wanted to say that I wouldn’t be concerned that the whole turnaround process took only 90 minutes. Crematoriums are a business, and no matter how altruistic the owners are, they no doubt use methods that maximize turnaround ( i.e., metal pans and metal brushes to collect the very hot ashes .. and a cooling system to speed up the time to be able to continue to the next processing step ).

    I only know this from researching online regarding the process because my precious rescue sweetie-girl pit bull named Ruby was just diagnosed to likely have cancer, and I want to become fully informed about what to do before I have to make the tough decisions later.

    Although I’ve pretty well learned the process of cremation and the equipment and methods used, I have no clue regarding what you described as what looks like sand with colored bits and speckles in it. Actually, I do have a guess, and that would be that it might be related to some sort of residue left over from cleaning out — possibly including some sandblasting — of the furnace, but if so, they should have done a more meticulous vacuuming job afterward.

    If I were you, I wouldn’t hesitate to go back to the company and express your concern that there seems to be some contamination in your beloved pet’s ashes, and you’d like them to clearly explain what it is. Let them know that you don’t want them to reprocess the ashes, you just want to know what it is and why is it in with your pet’s ashes? I have to say, though, that if they offer to take the ashes back to “fix it”, I would NOT do that. I would simply want the explanation, but I wouldn’t want my beloved ashes to be out of my possession again. In fact, I would NOT eve take the actual ashes back; I would only take a good photo to show them what you’re talking about.


  5. Richard Melrose says:

    Minette, thank you for what must have been a very difficult story to write. My heart was aching for you as I read it. In spite of it being a difficult subject, it was very well written, and I’m sure you will help a lot of people realize that this industry’s lack of regulation certainly does create too high of a possibility of dishonest practices that all loving pet parents should know about and consider, hopefully before they’ve run out of time to consider options.

    Hopefully, it’s not as prevalent as it feels; however, without regulatory oversight, strict and very specific laws, harsh penalties, substantial annual permit fees ( to pay for enforcement inspectors ) and frequent surprise inspections, the industry is — without a doubt — strongly influenced by dishonest competitors cutting corners to out-price those who want to do things right.

    You are so right — and I’m glad you made the very important point — that it’s irrelevant how honest and caring your veterinary office people are; they aren’t the ones who control the practices of the crematoriums. So people should at least make their own arrangements to deal directly with a crematorium that they’ve personally visited and spoken to the owners/managers/workers so they can depend on their own instincts about whether or not they can trust the particular business.

    It’s so sad that many [?most?] people simply don’t have many options, .. and many of those who might have options don’t think about it until they’re out of time to figure it out.

    The ground where my wife & I live is too rocky to even plant a rosebush, so for our smaller pets, my wife and I have always gone out and purchased a large planter pot { ..about 2 feet tall and about 20 inches wide.. } for each of our kitty children who have died. We fill the first third of the pot with potting soil, preferably mixed with the moisture-control beads to help control the soil moisture better and so when we water it, the water is less likely to run all the way through to the bottom of the pot; .. then we place our sweetheart’s body in the pot, which now occupies about half of the pot ( .. and we sprinkle flower petals and have our special “goodbye” time ); .. then we put in enough dirt to just cover our baby’s body by a few inches of soil, so now the pot is about two-thirds full; .. then we put the plant in ( usually a very fragrant type of rosebush ) and surround it with dirt to plant it. The first time we did this, we were worried we might have odor issues, but we never have, and we now have eleven kitties who we’ve memorialized this way. If-and-when we ever move, I guess one entire truckload will be solely for our memorial pots. My wife always makes a little memorial plaque for each one using a slate plate she buys at Michaels, and uses outdoor paint and an outdoor ModgePodge sealer .. and hangs them on a planter hook. Each time we water our flowers, we of course take a few seconds to tell each one we love them and miss them and are looking forward to seeing them again. And when the roses are in bloom and fragrant, it’s really a sweet little memorial time every few days.

    Anyway, Minette, I hope you ( .. and any of you reading this who are distraught about possible mismanagement of your pet’s remains .. ), I hope you believe, as I do, that when we pass from this physical body, our soul will be reunited with the souls of those ( .. human and animal .. ) who were joined to our soul through love in this life.

    I haven’t always believed that way, being raised in traditional Christianity, but after my first kitty died — and I couldn’t just accept that such a loving creature with such a complex and amazing personality would just .. “poof!” .. vanish into nothingness — my intense grief led me to use the convenience of the internet to pull together spiritual understanding about the matter including from the Bible, and it’s certainly a matter for a completely different thread than this one, but the more I read and considered and prayed, the more my spirit felt right that animals were part of Man’s environment in the perfect beginning (Eden), .. and they are part of the perfect kingdom to come (Isaiah 11:6-9), .. and why would “all of creation groan awaiting the revealing of the sons of God” ( Romans 8:19 ), if they didn’t have some anticipation that they would be involved in the coming kingdom? Anyway, my goal wasn’t to just convince myself of what I wanted to believe, but it was a serious quest to find enough truth to settle the question within myself; .. and I was happy to find enough evidence to believe what I now believe, .. that we WILL be reunited with ALL of our loved ones.

    So, coming back from my tangent, .. thank you again, Minette, for writing this important article. With enough enlightenment .. and enough people realizing that our laws need to address our very special bond with our pets, .. I hope we can soon effect changes to this very important industry that so badly needs serious regulation and oversight and strict enforcement.


  6. Stefani Dichiara says:

    This is the first time I am writing about my beloved cat Sammie, who passed on this past Friday 12/31/16. I had to make the decision to have him put to sleep abruptly because he was in stage 4 kidney failure. This was the second time I took him to this vet so they could re-evaluate him They did an ultrasound of his kidneys and the Dr, said yes, they were compromised. Sammie was so frail and I had to make the decision right then- alone. I remember holding him before, he was rubbing his head against my neck. I looked down and saw his little white paws. I didn’t stay for the procedure- I feel extremely guilty and have been non stop crying. I left like a coward, to spare myself the horror…As I left the room I heard the receptionist lady who was helping the Dr. say, “Should we do it right here?”…it didn’t hit me until I was in the car, as I was sobbing….those words…they still haunt me. I am sorry about the morbid details, but no one understands…I have 3 other cats one being a litter mate…all of them have been sleeping more than usual and were wandering around the house…almost like they were looking for Sammie. It’s heartbreaking. I originally told them to have Sammie cremated, that I wanted a private cremation…but after researching….and reading your story and others…I am going to call tomorrow and cancel. They want $160.00 for the private cremation, of which I get a box back that the lady said “is very pretty”….it’s not the money, I would have gladly paid it, if like you said, if…I was 100% sure it was my pets ashes. I know I made the right decision…sometimes I am not sure I did…I have my “what ifs”…I knew I did not want him to suffer anymore. I’ve had relationships end, great loves…but this pain I have never felt. I feel like I killed my cat, by making “that decision”….that is the worse part.


  7. Marlene says:

    For no doubt i rather burried like old times. How is realy suppose to. You see your love pet in the casket before is burried in front of your eues uou have a place to go visit cry talk. I dont bilieve in private creamation at all. When the hell did this creamation shit started before was not like that why cus is cheaper even for humans your geting every else bods ashes lots of moneu involved in this creamation shit.


    Minette Reply:

    Humans aren’t euthanized. Humans die on their own. Also humans use caskets. Chemicals are used to euthanize animals and so burial must be down 6 feet and most people don’t want to dig a hole that deep.


  8. Vikki martin says:

    I lost my boy Harvey on New Years morning I’m so heartbroken he was not only my dog he was my best friend a big piece of me will never be back he was let down by vets for pets who didn’t do tests on him when white blood cells were found in his urine he died with a tumour in his bladder that was the size of his bladder they are lying about events I am taking it further maybe they couldn’t have saved him but my boy died in severe pain I’m totally devastated I’ve asked ER vets to cremate Harvey on his own I’m hoping they respect my wishes I’m so sorry for your loss xx


  9. Deb says:

    I just lost my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Roxie Starr December 29, 2016, due to heart failure. Of course I wanted her cremated, so we took her to the vet and they sent her to a pet crematory. Tonight I opened the box for the first time to see her ashes. Of course I lost it..tears, sobbing, missing her terribly. I can’t describe how lost iam without her. I hope these are her ashes and not mixed with others. What a horrible thought that this might not be all her. But one thing she left with me is her paw print in my heart. I hope to be joined again with her someday. When I die I want her ashes buried with me. To everyone on here that lost there pet..
    I’m so sorry for your loss. This is very hard to deal with. Take care all!


  10. Terry says:

    Thank you for sharing your painful story and informing those of us who DO care. I have had 1 dog and 2 cats cremated. I’ve always wondered about the dog’s ashes. The bag I received looks like it is filled with pure white coarse sand from the craft store. The ashes for both cats look like ashes. Dark grey, powdery soft like fireplace ashes would look. No one can explain to me why there is such a marked difference in color and texture.


  11. I am so sorry you experienced this horrible pain and frustration, its all to common. This is why my husband and I started our own pet cremation business. We are small one on one service, we pick up from the vets or your home or you can come to our facility direcetly and we do the cremations no one else. Offering the pet owner peace of mind and some solace is our goal we feel we are doing just that based on our customer feed back and referrals. Educating the public is very hard to do regarding this subject and you have done a wonderful job explaining and sharing your story and feelings on it. I hope you are healing from the loss of your furry companion.


  12. Julie says:

    Hi I had my dog cremated only last week and she came home I a nice beech casket with a gold plate with her name on and she was put on the front seat of the van with the driver she always loved sitting in front of the car bless her it made me happy to see her come out of the front seat of the van


  13. Ceil Slauson, RNBSN says:

    My sister was hurt like you when her heart dog passed. I can’t imagine the pain when betrayal is added to the grief. Abbey Glen and Hamilton Pet Meadow in NJ provide for viewing, so you know it is your heart dog involved. My own grave is in Hamilton Pet Meadow and I expect to rest there amid my heart dogs and all my beloved “kids” when the time comes.


  14. tracey howitt says:

    i have had all my babies cremated over the years.i recently looked as i do from time to time at their ashes&i have always doubted them.gabannas ashes weigh so much&i have always picked up the bag&make sure all the ashes are at the bottom of the bag so when i open it none will spill out.but recently for the 1st time i spread the ashes in the bag.then i noticed something in the bag.i was horrified.theres a incinerated hairgrip AND the pin off the back of a brooch&i dont know how to deal with one would have especially a pin on their pets


  15. rachelee says:

    Hi Stefani, I just had to put two cats down in the past year and I just want to tell you how sorry I am sorry about your Sammie. Please don’t be hard on yourself about not being able to be there for the euthanasia — you did what was right for you and Sammie. If being there was stressful for you, Sammie would have picked up on that and it would have made it much worse for him. Your feelings of having killed your cat are normal (I’ve been through that as well) — but it’s just because they depend on us their whole lives. And, in the end, you tell yourself that there’s something you could have done. But you couldn’t do anything except let him go. Eventually your grief will get better and you’ll realize that you did the right thing for Sammie – you did the only thing you could have done, as someone who loved him. Take care of yourself.


  16. Melissa says:

    When I had my sweet 16 year old Sam euthanized, the vet I had used for years, was horrible. He yelled at me for saying that I wanted Sam in my arms. No sedation was offered. He walked in, jammed the needle in his vein and then walked out without a word. I will never use him again! I only hope that the ones who did the cremation were honest people. I know that calling them will never bring him back and would probably cause more grief. So, I have to accept things just as they are. Sam, I love you so very much and I hope that you can forgive me for the choice I made.


  17. Rick Sabian says:

    I knew it! When cremation was first suggested for my beloved kitty, I suspected right from the start that this was the way these people probably operated, for exactly the reasons you stated. What I really wanted, was to have my terminally ill kitty euthanized so she wouldn’t suffer. After I got over the shock of what these cold-hearted opportunists were charging, one woman told me it was “illegal” to give me back my cat’s remains for burial on my own rural private property. Another service told me I could have the remains, but wanted 50% more money… so is it “legal,” or did the first person just want more money for the cremation scam? The only reason they’re pushing you to let them cremate the body, is to make a lot more money. I chose to let my cat die naturally at home, because she doesn’t appear to be in any pain. I just had no idea that it can take several days for a cat to quit breathing, which has been gut-wrenching for me. I feel like maybe a made a big mistake doing it this way, but she’s going to be buried outside her favorite window with a beautiful memorial. Maybe that’s selfish on my part. I think I would have opted for euthanasia if I had realized what a long tortuous ordeal this has been, but I would never allow cremation unless I was able to personally witnessd the entire process. I doubt that any of these cold-heared bastards would have allowed me to do that.


  18. Wendy Koopmans says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. I lhad to put my little Rascal to sleep just yesterday and I am dying inside. The only thing I can hold onto is that I was blessed to be led to an amazing husband and wife that have been running their cremation business for 20 years. They treated my boy with nothing but respect and dignity and treated my husband and I with love and kindness involving us in everything and helping us grieve. This is a calling for them not a business. What I can share with you that will bring you great peace is something they shared with me and actually retrieved. The little green/blue things you saw are called “relics”. The Buddhist faith believe that if your remains carry even one or two of these it is lucky. They believe that these are sent from your pet to protect you. They will change colours and some eventually turn black or even disappear. This can happen in a few days or a few months or years. Some animals have none, some have more than others regardless of the size. It also is thought sometimes they disintegrate after you learn the lesson your pet was here to teach you. So feel blessed and know your little soul was sending them to you


  19. Barbara says:

    Typically ashes have some bone fragments in it. My dog came back like sand. I have to believe it’s a scam. Sad what people will do to make money.


  20. Vince says:

    I’m so sorry to anyone who has lost their pet. I’m currently in the grieving process as I write this. It’s hard. I lost my cat Tommy yesterday. Had to have him euthanized. It hits in waves. Crying out sorry to him. Anyway. I was a bit skeptical with the cremation process as well. My boy was cremated today and I couldn’t help but question this. Not knowing if the remains are all truly his scares me. I know it’s too late now but I think it would put a lot of us at ease if we could be there through the process. It’s nice to know people also see their pets as more than just a pet but a family member. 🙁


  21. Deloris says:

    I lost my Dog Oscar on Feb 7th 2017, he was a Weenie dog and I loved him with every part of me. I choose to have him cremated so after he was put to sleep couldn’t deal with it so my Husband choose the Urn for him and paid for it. The next day I decided not to buy the URN from the Crematory I wanted one just like I have for my other dog so I canceled that urn and bought my own. It’s been 5 weeks since I left him with the Vet so today I called and they have no answer for me as to where he is. I went to the Vet to get answers and the woman that handles the cremation was at lunch. I asked where they take the dogs to have them cremated and they gave me the name of the place. When I got home I called and explained to the woman the situation, she sounded surprised I had not got my dogs remains back. She said she would call me as did the Vet and I have not heard anything from either place. My heart is crushed and I am going to take legal action because at this point I can’t trust either place. I spend days sleeping on the floor next to my dog I would do anything for him and for this type of thing to happen there is no excuse.


  22. Emma says:

    I’m also sorry to anyone who lost their pet and who went through cremation horror stories. How can one grieve in the face of such injustice, this must be so devastating I cannot imagine.
    My cat will be 22 next week but unfortunately she’s been hospitalized this morning, they’re trying to save her on IV, she’s so tiny they ruled out kidney dialisys, and it looks like she has lymphoma cancer. She isn’t going to last very long, anyways I’m in New York City, I’m already doing my research for the best most honest place I can find but there isn’t much information online, even the highest rated places still have negative feedbacks of people who complain about fraud and other major problems.
    If anyone can help me with recommendations and testimonials please let me know, I’m willing to drive to Westchester county, Long Island, CT and NJ.
    I’m looking for a place where you can view and follow the cremation process yourself every step of the way, and bring the ashes home the very same day. I certainly don’t trust getting the ashes a week later.
    She’s been in my life for 22 years, she’s my baby, I just want the best for her.

    Thank you so much!


  23. Deloris says:

    I’m so very sorry that your Cat isn’t doing well, my heart goes out to you and your Fur baby. Sounds like you are doing the right thing in researching the best option for your Fur Baby.
    I live in California so I can’t offer where to go but I can tell you this, I spoke with a Pet Cemetery/ Crematory today and they are very well respected and have good standings with the BBB. I was told if you want to make sure your Fur Baby has the exact wishes you have requested it’s best if you take them to the facility yourself. It’s not easy for most of us but it’s a way to ensure they get the dignity and respect they deserve.
    Once you hand over your Fur Baby after its passed you don’t know what happens after that point and I can assure you if you did you would be horrified.
    Good Luck


  24. Emma says:

    As some of you may recall, I was dismayed by cremation horror stories and reviews online.

    A very dear friend recommended Bideawee in Westhampton. I couldn’t find reviews online but decided to call and make arrangements for Friday afternoon.
    My husband and I were greeted warmly. This was a same day and individual cremation. We watched it on a closed-cicuit t.v..
    The cremation lasted a little less than 2 hours, the person used 4 different brushes to gather the ashes, very thorough and delicate work.
    I highly recommend this place, this the Hamptons and it’s very exclusive. My cat died in peace and I’m relieved we didn’t end up going to one of those places in the City where you drop your pet’s body at a window while given a ticket and told you’ll get the remains by mail in a week. I didn’t want that for her, she was 22, she wasn’t a pet, she was our child.


  25. Morgan says:


    Absolutely loved your article about Pet Cremation. Pet owners need to do their due diligence.

    In the article you mentioned that Illinois has laws in place. Are you aware of any other states that have similar laws or legislation about pet cremation?


    Minette Reply:

    You would have to do some research, this article was written a long time ago but sadly most places don’t take note of pet cremation.


  26. Shelly says:

    I read this and my heart goes out to you, I am stuck in a Muslim country where this is not allowed and our beloved dog just passed away, we want so desperately to take her back to Canada with us but have yet found a way to do so,, iv even looked up doing it my self but even having a fire here is illegal, my heart is broken and I’m not sure what my next step will be.



  27. Daniela says:

    My Gypsy passed away on May 2 2017. Last week. As well part of me died with her. The empty hole I have in my heart will forever be. I had to put my mamas down cause she had breast cancer . I been crying on and off this entire past week. I been concerned about the cremation since I left her there and they told me it will take 14 days However I never asked were or how they distinguish her from other pets and how they can make sure my Baby Girl be treated as she deserves and creamated with respect. Because to me she was and is and always will be my family. I know gieoywjea she is just a Dog. But to me she is my baby . I’m about to call the vet and get all the info and make sure they have a system to use identify that we are averting the Ashely’s golf my baby


  28. Bravo, finally someone other than cremation providers has figured this out. There are only two types of cremation, Private (your pet is completely alone) and communal (your pet shares space in the cremation chamber with other pets. An “Individual” cremation is a communal cremation where the pets have spacing between them, versus being in a pile (sorry that seems harsh but is true). I saw the bag of cremains of your pet, they are gray, which is always a sign of a “individual” cremation. You are always looking for white cremains, as this indicated a high degree of cremation. A private cremation should never look gray.

    To your point, Vets know what they contract for, but they are looking at dollars, not service. To represent an Individual cremation as a private cremation is fraudulent. Most cremation companies understand the difference and clearly disclose this to the public, if you look for it. Vets often just pursue the lowest price point.

    Things to know about a private pet cremation:
    1. The crematory should be “Open to the Public”
    2. Cremations should be advertised and certified as “only one pet at a time” Beware, if you ask a direct question, “will my pet be alone at all times” you should immediately hear the answer “Yes” if they just echo that it is an “individual cremation” they are just not answering your question, which is an answer, “NO”.
    3. You should not have to pay to witness the cremation. If they are doing what they say, why would you have to pay to see a routine event?
    4. Every cremation company has a disc with a name and id #, this is not proof on any type of cremation.
    5. If you vet tells you that your pet is going to be cremated alone at all times and they provide you with an “individual” (communal cremation with “ashes back”) sue them for “Fraud”.

    Disclosure: Yes I own a pet cremation company in Austin, Tx. We provide a one only cremation, and welcome pet parents in our facility, because our pets are family. This means they deserve to be treated with respect.

    No new news here it is called “Let the buyer beware”,


  29. I will never cremate my animals again but l try to think that all animals are precious and even if there are other animals my dog loved most everybody well most animals and would gladly share her urn with other unfortunate souls. That is the only way l can think about it.


  30. Chris says:

    two days ago my wife and I had our Burmese cat put to sleep at the vet we go to on a regular basis, she was such a awsome gentle soul, we had her 10 years and 9 months, this is still hard for me to write this without having tears come up, she never killed a bird, lizard or insect in her life, loved effection, if the human race had more of Matrushkas indomitable loving gentleness the world would truly be a kinder, better place. she just loved life, was such a happy cat, much more than a pet, she was a deep, personal close friend, I went through Chemotherapy for Cancer 12 months ago , she along with her litter brother Russian blue, followed me around the house and while I lay sick with nausea, vomiting, dizzines and other effects from the chemo drugs, they helped pull me through, she curled up with me on a rug in the backyard and lay her head alongside mine, the bond I still feel now, its a loss and gap that will always be there in my life and my wife, she has been taken away for cremation, we were told her ashes would be returned in 7 to 10 days, what could we do ?, we are renting and when we leave, the place will be bullddozed, her ashes would be destroyed or just discarded like so much trash, so our only option is to get them back and trust they will be her ashes, we had planned to take them to my sis in laws farm in a few months and bury the ashes deep and place a tree over the site, now I am concerned they will be the correct ashes, I will see her again when I die, I have no doubt about that, but I do wish and do hope i DO get the ash back from her.


  31. Elise says:

    Hi Amanda,
    Your comment on the blue green speckles (sand like) ashes caught my eye. I have been a pet crematory operator for around a year, during my training when i first started I noticed and questioned the same thing. Some pets cremated remains have a green mostly pale aqua coloured substance on them. I asked my trainer who has operated both human and pet cremators for over 15 years and he told me that it seemed to be an occassional unexplanable reaction he had seen many times and i have also found the same thing over the past year. Each pet is so different in bone structure, muscle and fat mass, certain medical conditions, items that are cremated with them, exposed to to high or too low temperatures in the cremator ( – some too low temperatures can cause black residue to remain), also i have noticed pets with higher body fat tend to have a green colour as the body fat and heat softened flooring react together. All ashes as a result have differences. When we go to process ashes we remove and surgical pins or metal items, and also try to remove as much green and black residue as to not taint the ashes. I hope this is the case and your girls ashes are her rightful ashes. I have 7 pets (my babies) at current and would be disgusted to recieve someone elses pet. Im very proud of how my workplace operates, but am still perplexed, having previous come from the food industry where we are we would be inspected thoroughly, multiple times a year, that our industry (for both people and pets) where i live as far as i know has absolutely no periodic inspections/ reviews beyond what we do inhouse.


  32. Ania says:

    Thanks for your article.

    I live in the UK and my cat of 19 years dies three weeks ago. I had previously read about the pet crem my vet used on their website. It was relatively local (about 25 miles away) and seemed professional and reputable, so I was happy to leave him in their care when he passed. Two weeks on, I was called by the vet to say they pet crem had ‘lost’ my cat’s ashes. I called the manager a day later, only to discover they were a completely different company than stated on the website, and about 150 miles away. Today I received a call from the manager from the pet crem saying, after an investigation, they still could not find my beloved pet, and that it was ‘a mystery’. I am absolutely distraught, and feel I will now never have closure. I can only urge others to make sure they make their own arrangements when the time comes.


  33. Debra says:

    Now I wondering about my fatty, half Jack Russell half chihuahua. Went thru vet for cremation, was sent to atlanta, ga. But I have concerns also for wrongful death from info at vet. Is there site or someone talk to about this??


  34. I am sorry you had to experience this, but am glad you did research and questioned it later. Here is Canada, the crematories use Individual as a common term for Partitioned. I own and operate a Pet Funeral Service where I arrange for cremation and offer pick up and delivery. The crematory I use only offers true Private Cremation, the crematorium has 6 completely separate units, each one is monitored separately on a computer, the clients have a code I provide them with where they can go online and monitor their own pets progress. They do not even offer Partitioned. This is the modern way, all of my clients get the info they need.


  35. Stephanie says:

    I could really use some HELP!!!
    I intrusted my beloved baby girl zoey to a family ran funeral home who also did pet cremation, it was the first time I every had a pet cremated but she was a amazing dog that I rescued, she had been threw horrible abuse and I wanted her to be with me when my times comes.
    I guess they started a investigation on this man and his business and he killed himself.
    They found dogs and other animals from 2001 and they only way they found the owner was he was microchipped but the lady had already received ashes back in 2001 that she was told was her dog and it wasn’t.
    Now I have ashes sitting her and I’m wondering if it is my baby girl and the thought that it’s not is just consuming me.
    If it’s not her where is she and what happened to her. I have cried everyday since this all came out.
    Can you do DNA on ashes?
    I just don’t know what to do!!!!!


  36. Jim says:

    It’s disgraceful how your best friend is respected in the hands of the crematorium. Look at Pekin Illinois. We have a pet cemetery that has a crematorium. Got investigated, owner took his own life. Now finding out had pets in freezer since 2001. Friend just couple doors down had her pet cremated, just got ashes back. Now she finds out her pet is still in a freezer. Myself have 16 ashes, now not knowing if it’s your pet. There needs a governing enity that controls these types of businesses.


  37. irie says:

    i have had all my cats cremated and i live in nassau-bahamas. i started to question the crematorium after my 4 lb cat came back 3 lbs ashes!!!! but no comment. my husband passed away 2 years ago and i devided his ashed in 4 equal parts- for his 3 kids and me. my hubby weight 125 lbs and a quarter was 14 oz. today i have received my cats ashed back- he weight 7,lb10 oz—his ashes were 33oz— i was livid!!!!!!!!!!!!! i called the owner and got the excuse that it was a mix up – its someones dog! we dont do many pet cremations here-so how bloody likely that a huge 120 lbs dog was cremated within a couple of days of my cat? bull s**t. so i raised the thread of exposing this to the news paper and have the ashes of all my cats analysed. they were quite worried and promised me free cremations and i can watch when i bring a pet to get cremated -that just my pet is in the incinerator and all i get back is my beloved furry friend. i share all your grieve . i am livid and still hurting from my loss


  38. Jacqueline Pether says:

    Thank you for making pet owners aware that at a time of sadness you do not want to find you are not being told the whole story. To know you have your pet back helps to cope with the loss of a dear companion.

    Today people can be in this business for the money and not because they want to help those who are sad over the loss of an animal.

    I sincerely hope these people are fully exposed for the kind of people they are and not ruin the reputation of the genuine businesses that love animals and want to help the owners of these animals.


  39. Nancy says:

    Thank you, Richard, for your comment. My beloved “king” cat died yesterday at the ripe old age of 17. I have been calling various places to ask about pet cremations and have not felt comfortable with anyone that I’ve spoken to. After reading this article, that knot in my stomach grew bigger. Then I read your comment–and, after reading about your kitty memorial planter pots, I know that I have the perfect way to honor his memory and repay the years of love he gave our family.


  40. Garrett Lakey says:

    Arizona State vetenarian board has procedures on how the practice is carried out within Arizona.


  41. Lisa says:

    I lost my sweet girl 4 weeks ago due to a brain tumor I didn’t know about until 2 weeks before I had to make the agonizing choice to put her down as she was have multiple seizures and getting worse , they sent her ashes out to be cremated for me , I asked for individual cremation and paid for it , I haven’t yet opened the ashes not sure if I will but I hope they are her or I will be even more heartbroken if that’s even possible , when I received her ashes they were in a brown little wooden box with a lock and 2 keys to unlock it , I also received a letter with the ashes from the crematory with their condolences and even said my dog’s name in the letter a few times and the letter also said that in her memory they are making a donation to Companion Animal Foundation , I also received a personalized symphathy card / certificate of Cremation from them as well with her name and date she was cremated along with their gratitude so I pray that because they took the time to do all that for me that they took the time to respect dog and my wishes , the pain is the worst I have felt in my life since I had to let her go , I’m sorry for anyone going through the pain of feeling lost after losing their fur baby


  42. AJ says:

    I’ve always assumed (feared, really) that they just threw my pet in a ditch somewhere to rot, while simultaneously handing me a bag of lye inside of a wooden box. I mean, they make such a vulgar production out of it, returning my pet to me in a paper bag…a box in a bag, with another bag locked away…like they’re handing me an order of bagels or something. It’s vulgar. And upsetting. So, I just assumed that something horribly wrong is going on here, which I guess is how I found your article. Or, maybe that’s just the bitterness talking. I don’t know.


  43. Becky says:

    We lost our girl a couple weeks ago and have been fortunate enough to find a crematory that offers a witness cremation, which we opted for. Most of my family and friends had no idea this was even an option. We were able to bring her home from the vet after the euthanasia for our other dog to see her. I wrapped her and tied ribbons around her and brought her to the crematory myself. Your article is the very reason I insisted on wanting a witness cremation. I am so paranoid of not getting her back, this way I know we will have her, and only her, back home with us.


  44. PATTI BIBY says:

    My 13-year-old male cat Hemi was diagnosed with gastric lymphoma in early August 2017. The vet did not think he would last the month. Hemi had such a strong will to live, he lasted until mid-October when he went outside and never returned home. I presumed Hemi had gone off to die in the woods. I was raking leaves last weekend when I smelled the odor of a dead animal coming from the side porch. I had searched the porch before when Hemi first went missing but did not find him there. Well, it turns out Hemi had crawled inside a kitty play tube in the corner of the porch hidden from sight. He was deceased and must have been for quite some time as his body was infested with maggots. I managed to get his body into a trash bag and another trash bag and into a box with a pet quilt with the intention of burying him. Yesterday, I took the shovels to one of Hemi’s favorite spots in the backyard to start digging his grave. My backyard is in the woods making digging very difficult. I encountered ivy vines/roots on the surface and tree roots six inches down. I gave up the idea of burying him. I called the vet to inquire about cremation and the current rates, which have risen since my last inquiry. Two years ago, my beloved cat Biff died from a stroke in December when the ground was frozen. I wanted to bury him but I had no choice other than to have him cremated. My vet contracts with a local farmer who cremates pets and spreads their ashes on his property unless the pet parent wants the cremains. Due to the cost of the cremains in Biff’s case, I decided to have his ashes spread at the farmer’s property. Biff was a free spirit who loved the outdoors and exploring. I knew he would be happy there. Biff and Hemi were buddies born a month apart who grew up together. I was considering paying to get Hemi’s cremains and spreading his ashes in my backyard, his favorite place. However, since I have read your story and have doubts that the ashes I would receive would actually be Hemi, I will have Hemi cremated and the ashes spread at the farmer’s property where he can be reunited with his pal Biff. Both of these kitty boys were more like dogs than cats. They came to a whistle, took walks with us, chased dogs out of our yard, begged for people food and held their own against any dog. They were the most affectionate loving cats and the best hunters/mousers we ever had. Although their ashes will be miles away, I know their spirits will remain here in my home, my yard and in their beloved woods.

    Thank you for writing and sharing your story. It has helped put in perspective the pet crematory industry and my decision on whether or not to get Hemi’s ashes. The pet crematory industry plays on the emotions and vulnerability of the grieving pet parents by charging high fees for the cremains, knowing they will pay any amount for the memory of their beloved deceased pets.


  45. Ethan says:

    Greetings, your story is something I thought about many times. To date I have the remains of 4 of my last dogs. I always wondered if their ashes were truly their own. What ever they may be I am still pleased my dogs were cremated do to the fact I would have hated to think where their bodies might have ended up. Also I know their in a better place regardless. However you should know that this issue is not exempt from human cremation. Most funeral homes don’t do in house cremations. Bodies are sent out to big contracted companies to cremate. There’s been numerous horror stories as to what happens to our loved ones before and after funerals. Also it should be noted that for reputable and professional crematoriums it is far too time consuming and expensive to clean out all the ashes after one human cremation and before another. Cross contamination of ashes happens all the time. It’s petty much guaranteed if you have a loved ones ashes in your possession he or she is mixed in with someone else. Though only to a small degree. Bottom line is when we die and are bodies are taken away, what exactly happens is anyone’s guess. While most funeral homes are honest there have been many that are led by greed with little to no respect for our loved ones legacy. It’s not just a matter of concern for our pets, humans too.


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