Chapter 961: PET CEMETERIES

961.01 Pet cemetery definitions.

As used in sections 961.01 to 961.05 of the Revised Code:

(A) "Burial right" means the right of interment.

(B) "Interment" means the disposition of pet remains by earth burial, entombment in a mausoleum, or inurnment in a columbarium.

(C) "Person" has the same meaning as in section 1.59 of the Revised Code.

(D) "Pet" means an animal that has been adapted or tamed to live in intimate association with or for the pleasure or advantage of people and includes but is not limited to dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, and hamsters.

(E) "Pet cemetery" means land, together with any structures, facilities, or buildings appurtenant thereto, provided to members of the general public for use or reservation for use for the individual interment, above or below ground, of pet remains.

"Pet cemetery" does not include land used exclusively for landfilling or the communal burial of pets, but does include a pet cemetery where a portion of the land is used for the communal burial of pets.

Effective Date: 08-29-1986

961.02 Filing declaration restricting land for use as pet cemetery.

The owner of any land used or to be used as a pet cemetery shall file, or cause to be filed, in the office of the county recorder of the county in which the land is located, a declaration restricting the land to being used only for such purposes as are usual and normal for the operation of a pet cemetery. The owner shall execute the declaration in the same manner and with the same effect as a conveyance of an interest in land. The county recorder shall record the declaration in the official records. The restriction established in such a recorded declaration may be removed only as provided in section 961.05 of the Revised Code. Unless a restriction is so removed, no person shall use land restricted as provided in this section for any purpose other than for pet cemetery purposes.

Amended by 130th General Assembly File No. 41, HB 72, §1, eff. 1/30/2014.

Effective Date: 08-29-1986

961.03 Size requirement of pet cemetery.

No person shall operate a pet cemetery in this state that is less than three acres in size, unless such cemetery was organized or developed and was operating on the effective date of this section.

Effective Date: 08-29-1986

961.04 Establishing endowment care fund.

(A) Any person desiring to operate any pet cemetery which is organized or developed on or after the effective date of this section shall, before selling or offering to sell any burial right in such pet cemetery, establish an endowment care fund, as required by division (B) of this section, and place a deposit in the fund of at least twelve thousand dollars in cash, or in bonds of the United States, this state, or any county or municipal corporation of this state.

Whenever any such person has placed another twelve thousand dollars in the endowment care fund from the maintenance fee portion of the proceeds received from the sale of burial rights, in addition to the deposit required in this division, such person may withdraw the deposit of twelve thousand dollars from the fund.

(B) No person shall operate or continue to operate any pet cemetery in this state without establishing and maintaining an endowment care fund segregated from other assets in accordance with this section.

(C) Any person operating any pet cemetery after the effective date of this section shall place into the endowment care fund required by division (B) of this section a maintenance fee of not less than fifty dollars, which shall be charged as part of the purchase price for the sale of any burial right. This fee shall be placed in the endowment care fund no later than thirty days following the month in which the entire gross sales proceeds from the sale of the burial right are received.

(D) The moneys of an endowment care fund shall be held and invested in the manner in which trust funds are permitted to be held and invested pursuant to sections 2109.37 and 2109.371 of the Revised Code.

The income from the endowment care fund shall be used only for the maintenance, supervision, improvement, and preservation of the grounds, lots, markers, memorials, buildings, equipment, statuary, and other real and personal property of the pet cemetery and for the payment of real property taxes. Annual reports of all the assets and investments of the endowment care fund shall be prepared and maintained, and shall be available for inspection at reasonable times to any owner of a burial right in the pet cemetery.

Effective Date: 08-29-1986

961.05 Removal of land restriction.

(A) After a declaration has been filed pursuant to section 961.02 of the Revised Code, the land described in the declaration shall be used for pet cemetery purposes only unless the restriction for such use is removed by order of the court of common pleas in the county where the land is located in a proceeding brought by the pet cemetery owner or the owner's heirs or assigns.

(B) The court of common pleas may remove the restriction on the land upon proof satisfactory to the court that either of the following has occurred:

(1) No interments have been made in, or all pet remains have been removed from, the land from which the restriction is sought to be removed;

(2) The owner of the pet cemetery or the owner's heirs or assigns have received, from those persons who own burial rights in the pet cemetery or their heirs or assigns, written authorization, acknowledged before a notary public, to remove the restriction from the land. Any person granting this authorization who wishes to have a pet that is already interred in the pet cemetery removed and reinterred elsewhere shall so state on the authorization and the pet cemetery owner shall, at the owner's expense, remove the pet remains and have them reinterred elsewhere and shall provide proof of this removal and reinterment. A pet cemetery owner need not obtain the authorization described in division (B)(2) of this section from a person who has purchased a burial right in the pet cemetery but who has not yet used that right for the interment of a pet, if the owner refunds to the purchaser or the purchaser's heirs or assigns all moneys taken for the burial right, plus interest computed in the manner and at the rate agreed upon between the cemetery owner and the owner of the burial right.

(C) The court of common pleas may remove the restriction on a portion of the land described in the declaration, if the portion of the land that remains subject to the restriction is not less than three acres in size, upon proof satisfactory to the court that the situations described in either division (B)(1) or (2) of this section have occurred with respect to that portion of the land from which the restriction is sought to be removed.

(D) A holder of a lien on the restricted land may object to the removal of the restriction and the court of common pleas shall consider any such objection before issuing an order to remove the restriction.

(E) An order issued by the court of common pleas removing a restriction pursuant to this section shall be filed in the office of the county recorder of the county in which the land is located, who shall record it in the official records.

Amended by 130th General Assembly File No. 41, HB 72, §1, eff. 1/30/2014.

Effective Date: 08-29-1986

961.99 Penalty.

Whoever violates section 961.02 or 961.03 or division (B) of section 961.04 of the Revised Code shall be fined not more than five thousand dollars or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.

Effective Date: 08-29-1986