Complete Guide to our Working Procedures
What are the procedures at Dignity Pet Crematorium?
As a founder member of the APPCC we are committed to adhering to the Code of Practice which clearly defines both the handling and cremation procedures that members must adopt. We have detailed the Code of Practice at the end of this page.
Our handling and cremation procedures
Collection: Pets will be collected in a pet hearse either the same or next day that we are contacted. Pets will be carefully placed in a Dignity pet bed or stretcher and the white copy of our Client Form will be attached and kept with the pet throughout. Where more than one pet is transported at the same time they will be carried in the hearse side by side in a respectful manner.
Arrival at the crematorium: Pets will be taken to our Cool Room to lay in state prior to their individual cremation. The Cool Room is a walk-in room with shelving around the outside that is kept to approx 7–9ºC. Pets are laid on the shelving within their bed in a respectful manner.
Individual Cremation: A pet will be carefully transferred onto a bespoke stretcher that is used to gently lay them into the cremation chamber. They are lifted from the Dignity bed/stretcher using the cremfilm (white plastic sheeting) that lines every Dignity bed. Whether they are a hamster or a Great Dane only one pet is cremated in the chamber at a time. A log book is kept by each chamber and the details of the pet (including their name, the owners’ surname, their size, the start time of the cremation and the date) are recorded for every cremation. The white copy of the Dignity Client Form is attached to the log book and the time, date, size of pet and chamber number is noted at the bottom of the Client Form.
Clients can request an Attended Cremation Service if they wish to be present when their pet is placed in the chamber.
Removal of cremated remains from the chamber: Once the individual cremation has completed the chamber is allowed to cool and the cremated remains of the pet are removed into a collection tray. This is done using a hearth rake and then a brush dipped in water to ensure that all the remains are collected. The Dignity Client Form is attached to the tray and it is set aside to cool.
Cremulation: After cooling, the remains are reduced to ash using a special machine known as a cremulator. The cremulator will reduce the cremated remains from recognisable fragments of bones to a fine powder. The inside of the cremulator is carefully swept clean after each use and all the ashes of the pet are sealed in a plastic bag that is placed in a temporary container along with the Dignity Client Form. The ashes bag is labelled with the pets name, surname and date of cremation.
Preparation: The ashes are then transported to the office where the other copies of the Dignity Client Form are placed with the ashes before they are transferred into the casket or urn that has been chosen by the customer. Only one set of ashes is prepared at a time by the member of staff responsible for homing the ashes and depending on the option chosen either one or two Certificates of Authenticity are placed with the ashes.
Checking: Once the ashes have been placed in the casket another member of staff double checks that everything has been carried out in accordance with the instructions of the customer.
Returning the ashes: The casket is then either collected from Dignity by the pet owner or returned in person by Dignity to the vet / pet owner. Alternatively, if requested, we will return ashes by fully tracked courier service.
Timescale: We work towards each pet’s ashes being available for return / collection 48-72 hours after receiving them. Owners can pay an extra charge and have their pet’s ashes back the same day (Attended or Same Day cremation) if they wish.
Above: example of a Certificate of Authenticity
CODE OF PRACTICE (Amended July, 2013)
1. APPCC members provide burial or cremation facilities for companion animals with the emphasis on a respectful, dignified and caring service. Pet owners can make arrangements directly with association members, or via approved agents. All cremation and burial services are carried out at members’ own facilities, or may be referred to fellow members.
2. All members must comply with up-to-date legislation and be able to provide proof of relevant approvals and licences.
3. Members shall embrace open, honest and ethical business practices, allowing members of the public to make appointments to inspect their premises at convenient times.
4. Members will comply with Consumer Protection Regulations, embracing both the spirit and letter of the law. Comprehensive descriptions of services must always be made available, whether taking instructions directly from pet owners, or from third parties. Members must clarify on all marketing literature any services provided to veterinary practices or other agents, which fall outside the strict APPCC Code of Practice.
5. Members will ensure that every stage of the burial or cremation process (from collection to burial/scattering of ashes) is carried out in a dignified, caring and respectful manner.
6. Members will agree to, and comply with, the following terms and definitions for the services they offer. The intention is to avoid confusion caused by non-APPCC organisations using terms such as ‘communal cremation’ for services the Association classifies as ‘disposal.’(Note: the APPCC use of the term ‘cremation’ also encompasses careful and respectful handling of pets at all times. In contrast to a ‘disposal’ service, pet owners are assured that bodies will not be placed on top of each other without there being a solid divider in place during collection, storage or cremation. However, members are permitted to make other arrangements to those listed below when carrying out individual requests specified by pet owners).
• Individual burial: Pets will be buried in a caring, respectful and dignified manner in a designated plot at a pet cemetery. Plots must be marked in some form and clients must be made aware of their pet’s final resting place and be granted access to it.
• Individual cremation: Pets are cremated alone within an enclosed chamber with all ashes being scrupulously collected prior to any other cremations taking place.
• Communal cremation: Two or more pets are cremated together with no separation of ashes. All the ashes are buried or scattered in authorised memorial gardens, or natural areas. Clients must be made aware of – and be able to visit – their pet’s final resting place. (Note: the APPCC definition for communal cremation should not be confused with outside parties’ use of the term which may result in animals being handled in an undignified manner and ashes being taken to landfill sites. Even if the ashes are buried in the grounds of a pet cemetery, the service should still be described as a disposal, if there is no guarantee of respectful and dignified handling of pets).
• Communal cremation with disposal of the ashes: This service applies to situations where there are no authorised memorial areas for pet ashes to be taken, leaving disposal as the only option. Pets will still be handled with great care and dignity during collection, storage and cremation, but ashes will be disposed of at a licensed waste site. (Note: again, this should not be confused with outside parties’ use of the term for communal cremation where there is no guarantee that animals will be handled carefully and respectfully).
• Disposal by incineration: A standard waste disposal service governed by current legislation. Under this arrangement, neither APPCC members, veterinary practices nor other agents can offer watertight assurances on aspects such as respectful handling of animal remains.
• Disposal by landfill: A standard waste disposal service at a licensed site which must comply with current regulations. As is the case with disposal by incineration, no special handling assurances can be made.
7. All APPCC members operating crematoria services conduct individual cremations.
All APPCC members operating cemetery services conduct individual burials.