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Losing a beloved pet is never an easy thing to go through, but if you want to bury your furry friend in your yard, are you breaking the law here in Minnesota?

I've been a big animal lover my entire life and have had many pets over the years. While they bring immense joy and fulfillment to our lives and families, their much shorter lifespans mean just about all pet owners have had to deal with having one of their trusted friends pass away. And when that happens, you might be unaware of what has to be done with their remains.

When I was a kid growing up over in central Wisconsin, my grandparents had a lot of land near their house, which included a big, wooded area. When our German Shepherd, Lucky, passed away, grandpa buried her in their woods, near where he'd laid several of his dogs to rest over the years.

attachment-Play 8 Rochester Area Golf Courses (1)

Before I moved to Minnesota, both of my beloved dogs, Dexter and Kramer, passed away and I buried them in the back corner of my yard in Wisconsin-- a place they both spent a lot of time. However, when our Beagle, Chance, passed away back in 2015, instead of burying him in our yard here in Rochester, we went cremation instead. (However, that is a much more expensive option!)

So, can you legally bury a pet remains after they've passed away here in Minnesota?

Our dog, Chance, guarding our tent up north, shortly before he passed away in 2015. (CSJ/TSM-Rochester)
Our dog, Chance, guarding our tent up north, shortly before he passed away in 2015. (CSJ/TSM-Rochester)

To find out, I checked with the official Minnesota state statute Sec 35.82 (available from the Minnesota Legislature Office of the Revisor of Statutes) which clearly states that burying your pet in your yard IS legal-- with one notable requirement:

Any domestic animal that has died shall as soon as reasonably possible be buried at a depth adequate to prevent scavenging by other animals in the ground.

While the Minnesota state statutes don't appear to specifically mention cremation, they do note that it is legal to use the 'public thoroughfare' to transport your pet's remains 'for burial or other disposition.'

State statute Sec 35.82 also noted that cities across Minnesota ARE able to enact a local ordinance that would prohibit burying a pet in your yard. However, I couldn't find anything in the animal section of the city of Rochester code of ordinances that probits burying a pet's remains. (You can read more about Rochester's animal ordinances HERE.)

There ARE some animals, however, that you're NOT legally allowed to even keep as pets here in Rochester. Keep scrolling to see which animals aren't legal!

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Animals You Aren't Allowed to Have as a Pet in Rochester, Minnesota

Below are the animals that we are not allowed to own as pets here in Rochester, Minnesota according to the City of Rochester Code of Ordinances under Sec. 3-1-4. - Prohibited wild animal.


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