While it's an unfortunate event to lose a pet, a family may want to do something special to memorialize their furry friend. One way some families do this is by holding a funeral and burying their deceased pet in the backyard. Now, some folks may question the legality of this act, and while there are some things you should definitely never do, burying your pet is absolutely legal in Montana.

First, let's go over what you can do with a deceased pet.

According to state law from Ravalli County, you are allowed to bury animals on your property or on private property with the permission of the owner, as long as the animal is buried at least two feet underground and if the burial isn't in any high-water areas that could cause contamination of groundwater.

You also have to be careful with the container you bury the animal in. If you bury the animal in plastic, it's going to take much longer to decompose than wood or cardboard would. So, be mindful of the environment and memorialize your pet without hurting the environment around you.

What about other methods of disposal such as burning?

Those are not allowed at all. The only things you can do are burial according to the rules above or cremation. There are also some other things you can't do with a deceased animal, according to the same law. These include:

  • Dumping or leaving the carcass in, upon or within 200 feet of any highway, road, street, alley or public property in Montana.
  • Dumping or leaving the carcass on privately owned property where hunting, fishing, or other recreation is permitted, unless it is done so legally and with the consent of the owner.
  • Placing all or any part of a dead animal in any lake, river, creek, pond, or reservoir.
  • Placing all or any part of a dead animal within one mile of a residence unless it’s buried at least two feet underground.
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Hopefully, this helps answer any questions you may have about what you can do to memorialize your furry friends. Other jurisdictions in Montana may have unique rules, so make sure to contact your local law enforcement if you would like to memorialize your pet in this fashion.

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