Commonly Asked Questions About Cremation

What kind of records does the facility keep?

Hartsdale records are maintained on a network of eight computers. All burials and cremations are entered on a daily basis. All burial plots indicate the owner’s name and address, the pet’s name, type of care (perpetual or annual) type of flower care (perpetual or annual), plot size, monument information, etc. With respect to cremations all individual cremations include the cremation number, owner’s name and address, pet’s name, attending veterinarian or clinic, date of cremation, date pet’s remains returned, etc. In addition the cemetery maintains copies of burial right certificates, cremation certificates and pet records.

How can I be sure that I am getting my own pet's remains back?

As indicated above the pet holder can always make arrangements to be at Hartsdale for the cremation. However if the owner cannot be present they can be assured that the staff at Hartsdale takes great care in assuring that the pet owner gets the correct ashes back. They accomplish this by verifying/checking the paperwork that is generated from the specific description, case number if applicable, owners name and pets name. This is done at a minimum of three times and the cremation itself is then witnessed by two of our staff.

Can I witness the commencement of the cremation process?

Yes. Hartsdale has what is termed a witnessed cremation. What this entails is that the pet holder makes an appointment to be at Hartsdale at a specific time and date. Upon arriving, for their appointment the pet is placed into a temporary casket and the pet holder is able to spend time with the pet in our viewing room. When the pet owner is ready they may then follow the pet to the crematory and witness the pet going into the unit. Then when the cremation process is complete, normally between 1½ to 3 hours depending on the size of the pet, the pet holder leaves with the cremains.

What do we do with the cremated remains after the individual cremation process?

The standard method includes the remains being returned in a decorative tin box, however, there are several other options to choose from:1. Encasing the cremated remains in a memorial urn2. Scattering a symbolic portion of the remains in the memorial flower garden on the cemetery grounds or elsewhere3. Burial of the remains in a plot at the cemetery

How long are the records retained?

As of this time, burial records are maintained in perpetuity, Cremation computer records are maintained in perpetuity, and hard copies of pet records and cremation certificates are maintained for a minimum of three years in accordance with NYS law.

What type of system does the facility have to identify the body bags in which animals are received?

All body bags have a tag attached to them,. The tag indicates the owner’s name, the pet’s name, the pickup location, type of pet and the pet’s markings. In addition different color tags are used for different ultimate disposition of the pet i.e, individual (red/yellow tag), communal (blue tag), burial (white tag), and hold (buff tag).

How many animals can be buried in a plot or grave?

This would vary according to the size of the plot and the size of the pets to be interred. The amount of pets interred in a plot is subject to the exclusive wishes of the plot-holders and the size of the pets. Communal burials are not permitted at Hartsdale.

Are the bodies provided with toe tags or identification collars so that they can be identified even if they become displaced from the bags in which they are transported?

No. However, the transfer sheets are used to insure that each pet can be identified in the event that a tag becomes separated from the body bag. Upon arrival at the cemetery/crematorium each pet is identified and placed in its specific holding area.

Where and how are bodies stored after receipt by the facility and before disposal?

A separate morgue (walk in refrigeration unit) is provided for all pets that will be viewed by the owner prior to cremation, those pets that will be buried and those pets that are on hold. These pets are placed on separate trays within the morgue, and the trays are placed on shelves with their accompanying tag. All individual cremations that will not be viewed are placed in separate freezers.

These freezers are clearly marked and only contain pets whose final disposition is individual cremation. In addition, each freezer is provided with a perpetual inventory sheet that is updated each time a pet is placed in the freezer or removed from the freezer for cremation. All pets whose final disposition is communal cremation are also placed in separate freezers.


Does the facility have refrigeration and freezer capacity to accommodate the volume?

Currently, Hartsdale not only has a walk in refrigeration unit but 14 freezers. This is more than sufficient to handle the current volume.