It is a tragedy when a beloved pet dies. In the first moments, all you know is to cry and mourn your passed friend. But after a while, you realize that the deceased body cannot lie on your property forever. So what happens now? What do you do with the carcass of the animal? What is and isn't legal when it comes to the disposal of dead animals?

Let's explore our options and find out.

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In the state of Wisconsin, can I bury my pet in my yard?

In some counties of Wisconsin, pet owners are not allowed to bury their pets in the backyard or other private property.

The reason why burial is not allowed is because of dangerous bacteria. A decomposing pet can cause bacterial contamination in the soil it touches. That contamination then seeps into the groundwater, which can spread it to other areas. If other humans or animals come into contact with the contaminated soil or water, they could become seriously ill.

Can I leave the body in a public place?

NO! It is illegal to dispose of waste on any public lands or roadways as well as on private property without permission.

It is also illegal to bury a pet anywhere except the home where they lived, or at a registered pet cemetery. This means that you cannot bury a pet in a public place such as a local park or the woods. 
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How long do I have to dispose of the carcass?

Wisconsin law requires that carcasses must be properly disposed of within 24 hours from April through November and within 48 hours from December through March.

What are the consequences if I do not dispose of a pet's body properly?

Failure to comply can result in a criminal simple misdemeanor or a civil penalty of between $100 and $1,000.

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Is it illegal to throw a deceased pet in the garbage in Wisconsin?

No, it is not illegal. Animal carcasses may be disposed of in Wisconsin's municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills provided they are disposed of in accordance with the landfill's plan of operation. Just be sure to place the carcass in a bag before putting it in the dumpster.

Raccoon Looking out of a Trashcan
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Even though it is not illegal in Wisconsin to dispose of a dead pet in the trash can, it is frowned upon by many pet owners and seen as a rude way to dispose of a beloved pet.

What should I do when my pet dies?

The best thing to do when a pet dies is to call the veterinarian's office. A vet's office will take your pet's body and either dispose of it for you or store it for you before you have a cremation or burial.

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It is hard losing a furry friend, but it is good to know what your next steps are when the time comes.

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