Missouri law, like most states’, restricts cemeteries to being either exclusively for human burials or for animal burials. Accordingly, it has been illegal for Missouri cemeteries to honor a lot owner’s request to be buried with a pet. However, legislation has been introduced that would authorize Missouri cemeteries for the burial of both humans and their pets. HB 1652 would add a new definition to Missouri’s Cemetery Law:
(26) “Human and pet cemetery”, a tract of real estate separate from a cemetery, as defined in this section, in which both human remains and the remains of creatures other than human may be interred and memorialized at the discretion of the lot holder and subject to the rules of the human and pet cemetery. Burial space in a human and pet cemetery shall have the same meaning as defined in this section, but be applicable to pets as well as human dead. A human and pet cemetery shall be treated as a cemetery under sections 214.270 through 214.410 for purposes of licensing and endowed care. referred to as gardens. The cemetery is required to plat the garden’s grave spaces, and record that
Cemeteries seeking new sources of revenue may see an opportunity in this legislation. But that would depend upon whether a cemetery has land that could be dedicated for both human and pet burials. Cemeteries are typically developed section by section, commonly plat at the county recorder of deeds with a dedication of restrictions. Previously recorded cemetery plats would have been restricted to human burials for compliance with Chapter 214 of the Missouri law. Accordingly, the phrase “a tract of real estate separate from a cemetery” would be problematic for a cemetery that has dedicated all of its land for human burials. The cemetery cannot revise a garden plat once a human burial has been made to the garden. So, to take advantage of this legislation, a Missouri cemetery would have to start with land that has not been previously dedicated.