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A year has passed since officials at Standing Rock Cemetery in Kent approved a special section for pets to be buried with their owners, but none of the plots in that section have seen burials yet.
"Since we've not advertised it, there's not been a big commotion about it,"said Jean Chrest, clerk-treasurer at the cemetery. "We do have a sale in the section, (but) no burials yet."
The section of the cemetery near the back is split in half. One side allows cremated pets to be buried with their cremated owners, while the other side allows for full burial of humans with their cremated pets, with the two sections split by a memorial stone.
Plots in the human and pet cremain section cost $300 for residents of the city of Kent and Franklin Township and $500 for non-residents. Plots in the full human burial and pet cremains section cost $500 for residents and $700 for non-residents.
The cemetery does not allow for the non-cremated remains of animals to be buried anywhere on site, and, although it was considered at one time, does not have a section for pets to be buried without their owners.
A small but vocal group protested allowing animal remains in the cemetery when plans for the pet section were first discussed, but Chrest said that lasted a short time. She said the public's reaction to the section has been almost uniformly positive, especially as individuals learn more about why the section was created.
Standing Rock Cemetery previously had guidelines preventing the remains of pets being buried in their owners' caskets, but Chrest said families sometimes broke these rules at the request of their loved ones. Creating the pet and owner section gave those families a legal way to bury the two together.
Beyond the lack of advertisement, Chrest said there may be more personal reasons why the pet and owner plots have not become quick sellers.
"There are a lot of people who want to take the whole body (of the pet) with them," Chrest said. "There are other people that want to inter (the pets) now. We've not exactly said no to that, but at the same time, we've got to be careful because we don't want an area where there's just pets because it's a people place."
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