Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

June 24, 2015

Activist: Pet cremation fraud rampant

You may think the urn on the mantle contains your beloved pet's ashes, but how can you be sure?

According to a Dorchester-based animal rights activist, fraud is rampant in the pet cremation industry, with many companies giving customers the ashes of random animals when they paid to have a private cremation for their beloved furry friend.

"Unfortunately, no one is watching," said Bill Trabucco. "They cremate all the pets together, scoop out some ashes. You put it on a mantle assuming this is your pet. You think it's your pet of 15 years. It's not your pet."

Trabucco was at the State House on Tuesday afternoon to testify in support of a bill filed by Rep. Nick Collins (D-Boston) that would regulate the pet cremation industry to ensure pet owners are not being deceived by crematoriums.

The bill would require that pet crematoriums maintain digital video footage of each individual animal cremation. The footage would be required to include an uninterrupted image of the removal of the remains immediately following the cremation, as well as a date and time stamp. Crematoriums would be required to store the footage for a minimum of two years.

Those who violate the law would be subject to a fine up to $10,000, a one year jail sentence, or both, according to the language of the bill.

Collins said he first heard about the issues with pet crematoriums from constituents.

"Many times it's to cut costs and increase profits," Collins said.

Also testifying in support of the bill was Ed Hildebrandt, the owner of Pleasant Mountain Pet Rest, a pet cemetery and crematorium located in Plymouth. Hildebrandt, who has been in business for 35 years, said he wants his legacy to be that he helped restore ethics to the pet cremation industry in Massachusetts.

Hildebrandt said when he started his career about 35 percent of pets were cremated. This did not result in deception, he said, because pet owners are allowed to view the body of the animal. Today, however, about 90 percent of pets are cremated, he said.

"I had a choice, that when I said private cremation, that meant private," said Hildebrandt. "Others interpret private as something else. Through my own inner feelings, I chose to go the right way. Now that's cost me financially over the years because I could have gone the other way, but I didn't."

Sign up for Enews

WBJ Web Partners


Order a PDF