Ordinance would allow pet cremations in city


Alderman Margaret Laurino (39th) is sponsoring an ordinance which would allow pet cremation, which is permitted in many suburbs.

Representatives of Bohemian National Cemetery, 5255 N. Pulaski Road, requested the change in the city zoning ordinance, Laurino spokesman Manuel Galvan said. The ordinance only allows the cremation of humans, but under the proposal the words “or companion animal” would be added to the ordinance.

Requests for the cremation of a pet are common, but it is not legal in the city even though the state allows pet cremation, Bohemian National general manager Elizabeth Raleigh said. If the ordinance is passed, Bohemian National plans to perform pet cremation in a separate building from the one where human remains are cremated, she said.

The City Council Committee on Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards is scheduled to hold a hearing on the proposal at its meeting at 10 a.m. Monday, Feb. 11, in the Council Chamber at City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle St. The full council is expected to vote on the proposed ordinance change at its meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 13, Galvan said.

The only crematoriums in the city are at Bohemian National and Montrose Cemetery, 5400 N. Pulaski Road. A crematorium at Graceland Cemetery, 4001 N. Clark St., closed 7 years ago.

Many of the cemeteries in Chicago are affiliated with the Catholic Church, and church doctrine has not always allowed for cremation.

Bohemian National also is looking into allowing burial of pets, cemetery superintendent Phil Roux said. Sometimes the ashes of a pet are placed in the casket of the owner when he is she is buried, but the cemetery also gets requests for separate burial plots for pets, Roux said.

The neighboring Saint Luke Cemetery, 5300 N. Pulaski Road, has a garden that is used for the burial of pets.

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