Milan to have first pet cemetery

Open by end of summer.

Milan city administration’s guarantor for animal rights, Valerio Pocar, has announced that a pet cemetery, called Il Fido Custode (the loyal guard), should be open in Via Novara by the end of summer.

Located just beyond the S. Siro stadium in the city’s west sector, the cemetery will provide a crematorium and space for at least 10-15,000 graves or memorial markers. There will also be an optional collection service available for the remains. Mourners will be welcome from 09.00 to 1800,

At present, pets which have passed away may be buried only in private gardens, and even then only after the ASL (health centre) checks that the pet did not die of an infectious disease – otherwise the law requires them to be cremated for hygienic reasons. But Pocar points out that very few properties in Milan still have private gardens: he says he receives at least one enquiry every day about how to deal with a pet’s remains.

The fees for collection and cremation will be on a sliding scale according to the bereaved owner’s income, so that even the less well-off should be able to give their pet a dignified send-off, he said. The administration is also considering offering discounts for owners who adopt a new pet.

A typical English-style pet cemetery A typical English-style pet cemetery

Rome has a city pet cemetery,” said Pocar, “but the animals buried there are the pets of VIPs and famous personalities, so it’s too sumptuous for my taste. I would prefer an English-type graveyard, a lawn with simple memorial stones with the animal’s name and dates.”

There are an estimated 120,000 dogs (including unregistered animals) in Milan, as well as some 150,000 cats and “scores of thousands” of rabbits, said Pocar.