Your garden

Pet owners are allowed to bury the bodies of their deceased pets themselves, but only in their own garden. There are heavy fines for anyone who buries their pet in a forest, on the side of the road or on other public land.

There are some things to consider if you want to bury your pet in your own garden.

In Switzerland, only small animals weighing up to ten kilogrammes may be buried on private land. Places for burying animals must not be located in groundwater protection zones, groundwater protection areas, near springs or in areas of importance for drinking water production. In addition, they must not be located in areas with waterlogged soil or in areas that are prone to flooding, rockfalls, slips or erosion. The body must be buried at least two metres above the groundwater level and covered with a layer of soil at least 1.2 metres thick.

Ordinance on the Disposal of Animal By-Products

In Austria, burial of individual deceased pets by the pet owner is also permitted, provided that this is on the pet owner’s land and the pet is not suspected of being infected. Other limitations and guidelines such as on the size of the animal, the distance of the grave from the neighbouring property and the depth of the grave vary from state to state.

Animal Materials Regulation

In Germany, too, the burial of individual pets in the pet owner’s garden is permitted, provided that the place of burial is not located in a water protection area. The body must not be buried near public paths or squares and must be covered with a layer of soil at least 50 centimetres thick.

Animal By-Products Disposal Ordinance

Different states, regions and local authorities may have additional regulations. Veterinarians, district offices or veterinary offices will be familiar with the local requirements. Pet owners here should enquire about local regulations for their particular area.

In France, there is some uncertainty regarding the burial of pets weighing less than 40 kg in the pet owner’s garden. This is because it was allowed for many years under the “Code Rural et de la Pêche Maritime” (article L226-4). However, Article L226-4 has been replaced by EU Regulation No. 1069/2009. And this stipulates that animal by-products must be cremated.

However, depending on the region, burial in the owner’s garden is still tolerated, provided the animal weighs less than 40 kg, is buried at a depth of at least 120 cm on the owner’s property, and the grave is at least 35 m from the nearest residence or water source. If in doubt, it is best for pet owners to check with their local authorities. Ideally, however, pet owners should comply with the new EU regulation.