Animal burial laws: UK owners could face a fine of up to £5,000 for burying their pet incorrectly
Saying goodbye to your pet is never an easy thing to do, and it can mark both a heartbreaking and confusing time for owners.
Many owners may want to properly pay their respects and bury their pet themselves, but there are strict rules around where this can be done - and failing to follow regulations could land you with a hefty fine.
What fines can you face for burying your pet incorrectly?
In the UK, deceased pets are covered by The Animal By-Products Regulations 2013.
Failure to comply with these regulations can result in a fine not exceeding £5,000, imprisonment not exceeding three months, or both if the matter is dealt with in the Magistrates Court.
If the matter is dealt with in Crown Court, the penalty can result in a fine, imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or both.
Where can you bury pet animals?
Burying your pet incorrectly could see you landed with a hefty fine, so it is important to be aware of the legal rules, as Sarah Garner, solicitor at DAS Law explains:
The death of a pet can be a devastating event, with many pet owners wishing for their beloved companion to be buried in the garden where they happily roamed during their lifetime.
In the UK, you are legally able to bury your pet in the grounds of the home where they lived without the need for permission or planning consent.
There are, however, a number of conditions that need to be taken into account:
- Land must be owned and not rented
- Animals must not be buried near a water source
- Animals cannot be buried at home if they are considered to be hazardous to human health
Animals may be deemed to be hazardous to human health if they have been treated with chemo or received controlled drugs prior to their death. These include drugs that would have been administered in the event that an animal had to be euthanised.
If you are unsure as to whether your pet may have received hazardous drugs it would be advisable to speak to your vet to determine if it would be safe to bury your pet at home.
Can you bury pet horses?
In Scotland and Wales, only pet horses can be buried.
However, in England you are allowed to bury horses whether they are pets or not.
For larger pet burials, such as a pet horse, you will need to ensure that they are buried a minimum distance of 50 metres from any well, borehole or spring supplying water for human consumption or used in food production purposes, including private water supplies.
For larger pet burials it would be advisable to contact your local council’s animal health office.
Your local council may ask for a map marking the burial place or they may have additional requirements.