Contact us Or call 518-869-7867 

Print Page   |   Sign In   |   Register
Disposal of Unclaimed Animal Remains
Share |


Member Question: A clientpet was euthanized several months ago, and they have not yet picked up the remains. What are the obligations foholding onto unclaimed animal remains, and how should they be disposed of? Do the remainneed to be declared abandoned, and how would the client notification procedures apply?

NYSVMS Legal Counsel: The Agriculture and Markets Law provisions on abandoned animals apply only to a live animal, so these provisions do not apply to a dead animalits remains or cremains.


The provisions in the pet cemetery law only apply to the method of disposal of thanimal, and focus on ensuring that a dead animal or animal that will be euthanized is disposed of in accordance with the wishes of the owner. It does not have any terms for return of the animal remains or cremains to the owner who does nopick up the animals remains.


However, the remains/cremains of an animal are still the property of the owner, so a veterinary hospital should not simply dispose of them without appropriate notice to the owner and an opportunity for the owner to reclaim them even if that opportunity has previously been offered to the owner.

My recommendation would be for the hospital to send a certified letter (formatted for notification in the abandoned animal sections of the Agriculture and Markets Law) to the ownernotifying him/her that the remains/cremains of the animal:

•     are still at the veterinary hospital;

•     have not been claimed, despite notification from the veterinary hospital;

•     must be claimed by the owner in the next 20 days (time period for reclamation in the abandoned animal law);

•     if not claimed, the remains will be disposed of by the hospital. The notification should list the intended method of disposal by the hospital to ensure compliance with the pet cemetery law; the manner of disposal should be the manner of disposal used by the hospital for any unclaimed animal.


If there is no response from the owner and the hospital disposes of the animal, I would caution against charginthe owner for this disposal, which technically has not been authorized by the owner.

Veterinary Practice Management

More InfoHide Info ]
Articles related to the business of owning/managing a veterinary hospital/clinic
Item Name Posted By Date Posted
Compensation for microchipping in pet stores PDF (327.96 KB) Administration 9/7/2017
Whistleblower Policy for Vets PDF (264.24 KB) Administration 9/7/2017
Advertising PDF (298.89 KB) Administration 9/7/2017
New York State Labor Changes PDF (155.47 KB) Administration 11/23/2016
Mobile Veterinarians PDF (50.85 KB) Administration 10/7/2016
Medical Records PDF (71.44 KB) Administration 10/7/2016
Death of a Veterinarian PDF (63.94 KB) Administration 10/7/2016
Abandoned Animals PDF (50.34 KB) Administration 10/7/2016
Professional Misconduct PDF (101.98 KB) Administration 10/7/2016
Disaster Preparedness for the Whole Family PDF (478.38 KB) Administration 5/6/2015
Euthanization request in a client's will Link Administration 12/12/2014
Power of Attorney questions Link Administration 12/12/2014
Disposal of Unclaimed Animal Remains Link Administration 12/12/2014
Annual Wage Notice Requirement eliminated PDF (322.32 KB) Administration 6/26/2014
Selling or Closing a Veterinary Practice Link Administration 4/30/2014
Guide to NYS Sales Tax Link Administration 8/21/2013
Sales Tax on Cremation Link Administration 8/21/2013
Duty to Attend - Can a Vet Withdraw from a Case? Link Administration 8/21/2013
Record Retention Schedule Link Administration 8/21/2013
Wage Theft Prevention Act Link Administration 8/21/2013
Advertising FAQ Link Administration 8/21/2013
Membership Software Powered by YourMembership  ::  Legal