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Is it legal to bury a pet in your garden in France?

We look at the French legislation regarding how you should dispose of a deceased pet

Burying your pet in your garden in France is something of a legal grey area Pic: Yelizaveta Tomashevska / Shutterstock

Reader question: Our cat is part of the family and we would like to bury her in our garden when she is gone. Is this allowed? 

This is something of a legal grey area. 

There is no legislation that specifically bans burying a small pet in your garden. However, official government burial information mentions only cremation and burial in a pet cemetery as possibilities. 

Previous French regulations allowing for the burial of pets have been replaced by Regulation No 1069/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council, which stipulates that pets must be disposed of by incineration. 

However, the same text authorises national lawmakers to introduce exemptions for the burial of pets. 

Read more: French animal protection law inspired by UK

The only specific references in French law are to be found in the Réglement sanitaire départemental. 

Article 98 of these local health regulations usually follows a template, which states that it is forbidden to bury animals less than 35m from dwellings, wells or other water sources. 

In most areas, therefore, it would appear that it is not strictly banned to bury a pet if you have a large enough garden, although it is not recommended as it might pose a contamination risk to other animals and to the environment. 

If you choose this method, it is often suggested you should cover the body in quicklime and bury it at least 1.2m deep. 

There are, however, areas where this is explicitly banned. 

The Paris health code, for example, states: “It is forbidden, in all places, to bury dead animals; their removal is undertaken by a specialised department of the Préfecture de police.” 

In February, 27 MPs put forward a draft bill which would allow people to be buried with their pet’s ashes. 

There are currently no plans for a debate in parliament.

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