CHICAGO — Grieving dog, cat and bird owners would no longer have to travel to the suburbs to have their beloved feathered and furry friends cremated under a proposal approved Wednesday by the City Council.
"Grieving is difficult enough when someone loses a pet," Laurino said. "Chicago residents shouldn't have an added challenge of driving out to the suburbs."
The measure was approved Monday by the Committee on Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards.
Pets were always allowed to be buried in cemeteries, but now they can also be cremated.
By limiting cremations to "companion animals," the city still prohibits cremation of wild animals such as opossums and raccoons, Laurino spokesman Manuel Galvan said.
Phil Roux, the superintendent at Bohemian National Cemetery, said he gets about 15 requests to cremate pets every month. The cemetery at 5255 N. Pulaski Road operates one of two crematoriums in Chicago.
"We're trying to fill a void," Roux said, adding that people are usually surprised when he tells them it pet cremation is illegal in Chicago. "People want their pets to be with them."
The 135-year-old cemetery plans to cremate pets in a separate building to ensure that human remains are kept separate from pet remains. The cost of the service hasn't been determined, Roux said. Once the ordinance is changed, the cemetery expects to offer pet cremations within a couple of months.
"We just need to finish the electrical work, and then we'll be up and running," Roux said.