One of the novelties of the new Animal Welfare Law in Spain is that when a beloved pet passes away, a strict protocol must be followed which requires a certified professional deal with the aftermath of the tragic event, by certifying a cremation or burial. It is no longer possible to simply bury a pet in your garden, or other land, something which Málaga City Council is trying to assist in with the creation of a pet cemetery.
The creation of this space of eternal rest for pets responds, the City Council has pointed out, “to the growing social sensitivity regarding the respect and care of animals.” Thus, the Environmental Sustainability Plenary Commission of the Málaga City Council has taken another step to launch a service that the municipal team includes in its government program for the 2023-2027 financial year and that will be provided in facilities, built and located on a plot in the San Gabriel Cemetery in Málaga, with an investment of over one million euro (1,011,980.95 euro).
The new pet cemetery project in Málaga – a pioneer in Spain since the four similar ones that currently exist in other cities are private – has been built according to criteria of sustainability and energy efficiency – the City Council assures – and has with a citizen service building that includes a reception area, administrative office, office for veterinary use and toilets, crematorium, and farewell room.
The enclosure also has a green space for the deposit of ashes and an area for burials. Managed by Parque Cementerio de Málaga (PARCEMASA), in addition to cremations and burials, the cemetery will also offer other services such as the transfer of deceased animals, the celebration of farewell events, the rental of niches and columbarium, and the deregistration of pets, as required under the new law.
According to data from the Official College of Veterinarians, Málaga is the Andalusian province with the highest number of pets. There are more than 350,000 pets registered there, which represents 23% of the Andalusian census. Added to that figure would be those pets not yet registered, another requirement.
If we talk specifically about dogs, there are around 100,000 dogs registered in the capital alone and according to the data provided by the City Council itself, collected through a survey included in the market and economic viability study prepared prior to the start of the project, the 89% of people with a dog in their care would hire one of the services that PARCEMASA plans to offer. 64% of respondents would use cremation while 54% would opt for burial. 42% would rent a niche and 45% a columbarium. 44% would require a transfer service and 39% a farewell ceremony.
To determine the rates, the prices applied in other pet cemeteries in Spain and in animal crematoriums in the province have been taken into account, as well as the feasibility study carried out for its implementation, it states. Thus, for example, a basic individual cremation for animals up to 30 kilos will cost 170 euro.
Once validated by the Plenary Commission on Environmental Sustainability and as a prior step to the final approval of the project file, the document will be submitted to public exhibition for a period of 30 calendar days from its publication in the Official Gazette of the Province and in the municipal website, where individuals and entities can make allegations.