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Pet horse burials

The Animal Health Team in Staffordshire is aware that this can be an emotional and distressing time for owners of pet horses, therefore we take a flexible and pragmatic approach to enquiries regarding the burial of a much loved pet and will endeavour to make the process as smooth as possible.

To prevent the spread of animal borne pathogens or disease, there are very strict rules on the disposal of carcases and burial is only permitted for pet horses if certain conditions are met. These are detailed below :

Conditions of Burial

  • You must own the land or obtain permission from the landowner before you go ahead.

  • Burial sites must be at least 250m from any well, borehole or spring that supplies water for human consumption or water for use in Farm Dairies.

  • At least 30m away from any other spring or watercourse and at least 10m from any field drain.

  • There should be at least 1m of subsoil below the bottom of any burial pit, allowing a hole deep enough for at least 1m of soil to cover the carcase preventing access by foxes and other scavengers.

  • There should be no standing water at the bottom of the hole when you first dig it.

  • It may also be helpful to include a record of any burial sites with the deeds for the land 

Notification that the horse is free from disease

Horses may only be buried if they are free from disease and that they have not died as the result of a disease that may be communicable to humans or other animals.

As the Local Authority we would need written confirmation from your vet stating that the animal has not died from disease. This can be supplied by:

  1. E mail to animal.health@staffordshire.gov.uk

  2. Fax to 01785 277 877

  3. Letter to Animal Health, Wedgewood Building, Tipping Street, Stafford ST162DH

If you are unsure whether there are any watercourses on the land you intend to use for the burial you can get confirmation by contacting the Environment Agency on 03708506 506.

Please note: While no Authorisation is required from the Environment Agency, persons responsible for this type of burial could be liable to enforcement action and financial penalties should pollution occur.

There are other routes which can be taken such as taking your horse to a Pet Crematorium or if you are a member of the National Fallen Stock Scheme you can make arrangements through them. 

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