Before you start with this article make sure to read Hartsdale Pet/Canine Cemetary P2 So you will know the back story as to how this Cemetary got going.
More than 54,000 pets die every year in New York alone. The Pet Death business is large and getting bigger and more extravagant each year in the US. Hartsdale Pet/Canine Cemetary is a prominent part of this industry in New York, in the US and in the world at large. Only as recently as in 2012, the 'US dept. of the Interior' added Hartsdale Pet Cemetary to the 'National Register of Historical Places' making it the first and only animal burial ground to receive such acknowledgment as a site of profound cultural significance.
Its long history of caring for pets who have passed on began in 1896. It began as only a favor to a dear friend and turned into a lucrative business and with it came the usual start up problems. Graves became unkempt, bills unpaid and so they had to formalize and regulate it. A Caretaker was hired to care take the property and bury the animals. All the legal stuff had to be taken care of and so they created a deed for the entire cemetery. In layman terms, how it worked was that a customer who wanted to bury their pet in Hartsdale would select an available lot, then they would buy from the Cemetery Corp a ‘burial right’ which is an exclusive right to bury their pet there.
Customers became 'plot holders' at Hartsdale. Each plot usually had room for two pets. A customer could authorize the cemetery to open it and bury a second pet when the time came. The customer would agree to pay maintenance – general maintenance of the cemetery – grass cutting, trees etc. This was considered an obligation to the cemetery. Annual payment currently stands at $70 and if a customer doesn't pay for 3.5 years they lose their right and the plot could be bought by someone else. BUT if this happens the pet is cremated and the ashes scattered on that plot so there is some respite for the customer.
Hartsdale then introduced 'Perpetual care' meaning a provision of funds, to be held in a trust, the income of which is to be expended in keeping up (forever) the necessary care of the individual lots. Hartsdale set up an endowment of $2300 with JP Morgan to this end. They also recommend that if you have a will (and you should) then put it in it so that your wishes are clear and uncompromising.
In terms of other rules and regulations the cemetery developed over the years they do require that pets are to be buried in a casket. Price varies and depends on size of a plot and where in the cemetery the plot is.
The cemetery is also home to the World Famous War Dog Memorial - a 10 foot high monument topped by a beautiful German Shepard. It was erected in 1923 to honor all military dogs that served in World War I. It is the only memorial of its kind in the US and is the focus point during the Memorial Day Weekend ceremony that is held annually in the cemetery.
Today the "peaceable Kingdom" is the final resting place for more than 80,000 dogs, cats, rabbits, reptiles, monkeys and even a lion cub that once resided in the famous Plaza Hotel with a Russian princess. It has quite the history. Mariah Carey once visited the cemetery with an entourage to grieve for her cat Clarence.
In my opinion Hartsdale Cemetary is a beautiful place to take a time out, grieve, be a tourist, be a photographer, satisfy curiosity, take a reprieve from the daily grind or just be a nosy historian for a moment. The welcome was generous, the grounds pretty and the calm, peace and serenity of The Peaceable Kingdom is infectious and I will surely be going back for more.