Pet cemetery pioneers in Moscow

One particular cemetery in the Russian capital is becoming increasingly popular – with pet owners. More and more are willing to spend hundreds of dollars to bury their best friend.

Cats, dogs, horses and even hamsters find their last resting place among hand-carved tombstones in the pet cemetery.

Andrey Zhuravlev, pet cemetery owner, says: “In addition to dogs and cats, we have hamsters, parrots and horses. This is a place where people can come and bury their pets with dignity.”

The idea came from Andrey’s personal experience, having to unceremoniously discard his own discarded pets as a child, and so now he runs the only certified pet cemetery in Russia. People can get cremations, burials, headstone placement and even pet memorial services – an idea that is welcomed by many pet owners.

Olga Melkina, cat owner, believes: “Animals, just like us, are part of our world, and they have the same rights to be here as we do, and to diminish this would be wrong.”

There is more to it than just the emotional component. There is a practical side to the pet cemetery business as well. When animals decompose they can be toxic to the environment, so Moscow law dictates all pets should be cremated as a safety measure.

“Many people around Moscow just bury their pets in playgrounds in front of their buildings where kids play. This is dangerous and so people really need to think about what they are doing and cremate their pets and then bury the ashes,” Andrey Zhuravlev adds.

The owners of this cemetery says that their clients do receive comfort from their service and that makes sense, as many of the pets buried here have been a part of people’s lives for many years. Even though the idea may seem like a good one, it has been very controversial.

Andrey Zhuravlev said to RT, “We ran into a lot of problems with administration in the beginning and with construction. People were saying that they do not even have enough land to bury people and we want to use it to bury pets!”

With nearly two million pets registered on average in Moscow each year, Andrey is hoping that people will consider how to handle their animals when they die.

“We have thought about the death of our pets. That is why we chose a cat instead of a hamster, because they live longer – it is better for our child. When our cat dies I am sure we will bury it,” Olga Melkina concludes.