It's sad enough when your "good old boy" crosses the Rainbow Bridge, so you certainly don't need additional grief from the law.

Pet Burial Laws Vary From State To State

The good news is, here in Michigan, it is perfectly okay to drop your pet into a grave on your property, but the caveat to this law is you have to do it fairly quickly.

According to The Bodies of Dead Animals Act, Public Act 239 of 1982:

...all dead animals must be disposed of within 24 hours after death. The following methods of disposal are allowed by law: burial, burning, composting or rendering. Alternatively, you can contact your local landfill to see if they accept dead animals.

So, you'll have to make it a quick funeral, with a quick visitation. You can't wait for the dog's uncle to fly in from Iowa.

The same goes for cats. Dig that hole, and put him/her in there within 24 hours.

Engin Akyurt via Unsplash
Engin Akyurt via Unsplash
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Are There Restrictions When Disposing Of Your Best Pet Friend Ever?

According to the Pet Law web site:

Yes. If you bury or abandon the carcass of any dead animal in any lake, river, stream, meadow or other public place, or within 1 mile of another’s residence who does not consent to the burial or abandonment you will be guilty of a misdemeanor. If you choose to bury a deceased animal’s carcass on your own land you must bury the carcass at least 4 feet under the ground. You can be guilty of a misdemeanor offense every 24 hour period that you permit an animal carcass to be present on your property in violation of this rule.

Other allowable methods for disposing of animal carcasses include burning in a barrel or drum, or transporting to a facility licensed to incinerate animal carcasses.

Guillermo Mota via Unsplash
Guillermo Mota via Unsplash
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Did Your Horse Die? That's A Different Set Of Rules

Horses fall under the "Livestock" designation in Michigan, which is enforced by a separate agency. 

When burying livestock in Michigan:

  • Remains must be buried within 24 hours
  • Remains must be buried at least two feet deep
  • Remains must not be discarded or submerged in bodies of water or buried within 200 feet of a well
  • A minimum of two and a half feet is required between each burial site and no more than 100 individual burying sites per acre
  • Animal weight cannot surpass 10,000 pounds per acre
  • Because of these regulations, animal remains cannot be used as bait.

Bait? What kind of animal are you hoping to bait with a dead horse? Never mind, I don't want to know.

The complete set of pet burial rules for the State of Michigan can be found here. And sorry to hear of your loss.

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