Learn More About Cremation Services

crematoryWe at Hinsdale Animal Cemetery and Crematory perform cremation services according to the definitions and guidelines of the ICCFA and PLPA. Please use these resources to educate yourself about cremation processes.

Private cremation: A cremation procedure during which only one animal’s body is present in the cremation unit during the cremation process.

Partitioned cremation: (We do NOT perform this service as we feel it is inferior to a private cremation) A cremation procedure during which more than one pet’s body is present in the cremation chamber and the cremated remains of specific pets are to be returned. Due to a number of factors and by virtue of multiple pets being cremated within the same unit at the same time, active commingling of cremated remains will occur.

Communal cremation: (Group Memorial Cremation.) A cremation procedure where multiple animals are cremated together without any form of separation. These commingled cremated remains are not returned to owners.

Cremation process: The heating process that reduces human or animal remains to bone fragments, followed by the processing that reduces bone fragments to unidentifiable dimensions. Learn more about our cremation process…

Commingling: Mixing of cremated remains.

Active Commingling: Commingling that occurs between animals during the cremation and/or retrieval process when multiple animals are cremated together at the same time. This type of co-mingling can be minimized with effective partitioning but it is impossible to assert that it can be eliminated entirely. This type of commingling cannot, by definition, occur with a private cremation.

Residual (Incidental) Commingling: Unavoidable incidental commingling between cremations that occurs despite a best effort to recover all cremains from each cremation. This will occur to varying degrees with any type of cremation. This definition is the minimal type of commingling that occurs even in cremations performed in succession. (human cremations and private pet cremations). For the proposed definitions below, state definitions and regulations may preclude members from treating anatomical pet remains as anything other than medical waste. Please check with your state EPA.

Anatomical Pet Remains: A portion of pet’s remains not discarded as medical waste, but for which reverent cremation is desired for that body part, (i.e. an extremity or necropsied head.) and for which reverent disposition is not otherwise forbidden by law.

Medical Waste: Waste derived from the medical treatment of humans, or animals, or from biological research. *** Hinsdale Animal Cemetery and Crematory does not retrieve, haul, store, treat, or in any way involve itself with regulated medical waste ***

Standards for Cremation Procedures

Single Pet — ”One at a time” Cremation Procedures:

Private Cremation
Any cremation procedure deemed “Private” must be performed with only one pet’s body or cremated remains in the cremation unit during the cremation process. Only “one pet at a time” will be cremated when a Private Cremation is performed. All retrievable cremated remains should be collected from each cremation prior to placing the next animal’s body in the cremation unit. Operators may not use the word “Private” in the title or description of any service in which more than one animal is cremated in any part of a single cremation unit at the same time. (i.e., “Semi-Private,” “Privately Partitioned,” are not acceptable). It is the PLPA’s position that any company using the words “Private” or “Individual” in the definition and/or description of their cremation processes be expected to perform the procedure in the same manner as private cremations are performed by PLPA members.

Multiple Pet Cremation Procedures:

Partitioned Cremation
PLPA members will be expected to follow strict guidelines when/if performing this sort of cremation procedure. Full disclosure is expected from membership. The words “private” and/or “individual” are not to be used in whole or in part in the description and/or definition of this type of procedure. At the very least, some contiguous method of effective physical separation—not just space—should be employed in order to keep co-mingling to a minimum. Co-mingling of cremated remains will occur with this type of cremation and will vary based upon conditions in the cremation chamber, height and type of the partitioning medium used, amount of space between animals, method of retrieval employed, and other factors.

Communal Cremation
While allowing for some practical considerations at the discretion of the PLPA member, PLPA membership will be expected to treat the bodies of pets designated for communal cremation with respect and dignity at all times possible. This primarily includes, but is not limited to:
1. Completing the cremation expeditiously if cold storage is not available.
2. Minimizing or eliminating any amount of rough-handling of animals.
The final disposition of the cremated remains is to be disclosed to clients, but these cremated remains are not to be returned to clients in whole or in part. Unless otherwise prohibited in an operator’s jurisdiction, the PLPA recommends dignified disposition of the cremated remains, such as scattering or interment in a location that families may visit. Cremated remains of companion animals should not be disposed of in the garbage or land fill unless doing so is required by law of that jurisdiction. Operators should also disclose what the final disposition area is for the consumer.

Family Cremation
A special type of multiple-pet cremation procedure performed at the request of a single owner or family during which pets from the same family, and only pets from the same family, are cremated together.

Pet Loss Professionals AllianceThe PLPA Mission Statement

The Pet Loss Professionals Alliance is committed to being an educational resource to its members. The membership, including pet loss suppliers and pet death care facility operators, will be dedicated to the respectful and dignified treatment of those pets entrusted to us. We will do this through the creation of programs to profitably meet the changing needs of the pet death care industry and our process partners in the areas of cemeteries, crematories and pet loss facilities, as well as the creation of standards to willfully meet our customers’ expectations.

What is a Pet Cemetery or Crematorium?

Sadly, under many jurisdictions pets and their mortal remains are classified as waste. One exception to this generality occurs in the State of Illinois. Under the Illinois Companion Animal Cremation Act, companion animals are not considered waste material unless the owner determines that it is so. Before this determination was made, deceased companion animals were classified as waste along with road-kill, livestock, and animal medical waste. In order to operate crematory equipment for the purposes of cremating companion animals in the State of Illinois, the operator only needs an air permit from the EPA. This permit should not be confused with licenses granted for the incineration of waste. Many disposal firms tout their waste permits as a form of mandatory licensing for cremation services when in fact they are not required for the dignified cremation of animals, but rather, exclusively for the disposal of waste.

Most owners would not want their pets’ bodies to be dealt with along with commercial refuse. Cremation and Burial are personal, specialized processes that are a far cry from the incineration or landfill disposal of throw away waste. Due to a general lack of legal definitions in many jurisdictions and most states throughout the country, waste disposal firms purport to offer “cremation services” for pet owners. These are often carried out under appealing names which belie the true nature of the operations. For the pet owner this means two things:

  1. Be aware of different types of licensing -Certain licensing is a legal requirement for waste services but not relevant to dignified pet cremation.
  2. Look beyond the public face. Glossy brochures and slick presentation are all very well but unless you have written assurance of their procedures, look elsewhere.

How do you judge a genuine pet crematorium or cemetery?

Most pet owners would regard a service described as Cremation or Burial to encompass three main points.

  1. The dignified handling of their pets at all times.
  2. The actual process of cremation or burial is done according to their wishes.
  3. In the case of cremation, the final committal of the ashes to a particular area intended for that purpose or being able to have the ashes returned to them.

While there may be a number of different options for cremation or burial, they should all meet the above criteria. It is important not to be confused or misled by comforting names for poor services. In the case of cremation with ashes returned to owners, do not accept a cremation certificate that does not explicitly state the type of cremation your pet is receiving. Many disposal firms provide certificates that are unnecessarily wordy and deliberately deceptive. These certificates often certify nothing pertaining to the type of cremation received or the authenticity of ashes returned. A proper certificate should state the type of cremation received and also certify that the ashes you are receiving are those of your pet.

“Cremation” services offered through some veterinarians:

Beware of services offered only through a veterinarian and not open to the general public. Services that discourage reasonable owner participation in their pet’s aftercare by charging additional fees for being present or flatly barring owners from their facilities should also be avoided.

10 questions to ask the person who is offering you after death care for your pet:

  1. Does your service offer full after death care, including burial and memorials?
  2. May I inspect the facilities where my pet’s after care will be performed?
  3. If I choose cremation can you guarantee that my pet will be cremated?
  4. If I choose and pay for a private cremation will my pet be cremated individually and will I receive a written guarantee that states such?
  5. Can my pet’s cremated remains be returned to me within 72 hours or sooner without incurring additional costs?
  6. May I be present before and during my pet’s private cremation without incurring additional cost?
  7. If I choose a group cremation, can you guarantee that my pet will not be mass incinerated and sent to a landfill or a rendering or fertilizer plant?
  8. If my pet is group cremated, what happens to the cremated remains?
  9. If my pet’s cremated remains are scattered may I visit the location?
  10. If the service you are using cannot guarantee in writing all or any service they offer, why should I trust my pet’s after care to them?