Bill Allows Dogs, Owners to be Buried Together

Lynchburg, VA - So many of us consider our pets part of the family. Now there's a bill in the General Assembly that would allow people to be buried with their pets.

Currently cemeteries only allow human remains, but one lawmaker hopes to change that.

The trend of pet burials has grown in the last few decades.

In some places in Lynchburg, pet owners can even hold a memorial service for their four legged friends.

The new bill will allow them to take that a step further.

Pets and their owners are often inseparable. They refer to them as their companions, best friends, even family.

"Yep, they are like my children," said Alicia LaPorta.

A proposed bill in Richmond would ensure that even death won't do them part. It would allow pets to be buried in a plot next to their owners.

"For anyone that has a pet and understands the love and companionship they provide, this is just an opportunity for that connection to continue forever," said funeral director Chris Tharp.

Although it seems like an unusual request, Tharp says he's had similar requests in the past.

"We have a number of people that have put in their pre-arrangement plans at Tharp that they want the urn that contains the cremated remains of their dog or their cats or whatever it may be, be placed in the casket with them and buried," Tharp said.

Tharp already allows owners to hold memorials for their pets inside the funeral home's chapel.

"Especially sometimes in cases where there aren't any children involved or that person may not have a spouse, that companion, that pet really is their family," Tharp explained.

For dog lovers Alicia and Patrick, the bill will allow them to rest in peace knowing they will always be with their furry friends.

"My dogs are my best friends and I know that I'd like to be buried with my dogs too," Alicia LaPorta said.