Pets are important members of the family, and when they die, handling funeral arrangements becomes a crucial issue.
The revised Law of Humane Treatment and Management of Animals that has come into force in Japan stipulates that owners should look after their pets until they die. When pets die, their remains have to be treated correctly and hygienically. Abandoning or burying them in parks, on riverbanks and other public spaces, or on someone else’s property, is regarded as illegal dumping in Japan.
When owners cannot take care of their pets, the environment offices of local governments will for a fee accept dogs, cats and other common pets. In Chuo Ward, Tokyo, for example, the local government will accept an animal that weighs no more than 25kg for a fee of ¥2,600 (RM81).
The concept that a pet is a member of the family has gained wide currency, and owners would hire a special agency to hold proper funerals for their pets. The idea is to console the soul of a deceased pet, as well as help owners accept its death and move on with their lives.
Pet owners seeking the services of a pet’s funeral service agency can choose between a “joint cremation” and an “individual cremation”. For a joint cremation, an agency cremates a number of animals and the bones are buried in a mass grave. The process is similar to that carried out by local governments. In individual cremations, the agency will return the pet’s ashes and bones.
When an owner wants to attend a funeral for a pet, the agency holds a service at a ceremony hall where the owner can say goodbye to the pet and pick up its ashes at the crematorium. An individual cremation ceremony costs more than a joint cremation ceremony, and varies depending on the choice of facility and the pet’s weight.