The Association of Private Pet Cemeteries and Crematoria

March 02, 2011 04:44 ET

How Pet Owners and Vets Can Protect Against Pet Cremation Fraud

CARLISLE, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - March 2, 2011) - The BBC's Inside Out Programme screened on Monday 28th February covered the issue of pet cremation fraud and the Derbyshire "dumped pets" case that let to Emma Bent being sentenced to 8 months in prison for numerous offences. 

Angela Moore, the owner of one of the pets found in the field in Lower Harshay in 2009 has made the following statement.

"Our family are still trying to come to terms with what she (Bent) did to us. It makes me sick to think about how she treated our Sam and all those other poor pets. I am so angry that so many vulnerable pet owners were sent to her by Ambivet. Each day more people are coming forward and they all feel like they were let down by Ambivet. There are lots of questions I want to ask the vet including why they didn't bother to carry out simple checks on her first and why they made a profit out of my Sam's cremation? Human undertakers just pass on the cremation fee to relatives so why do vets have to make money out of it?"

Owners whose pets were sent to Peak Pet Cremations are currently looking at whether they will take their own private legal action against Ambivet. Since 2nd February 2011, when Emma Bent was sentenced at Derbyshire Crown Court to 8 months in prison Ambivet have refused to make any apology or any formal statement on their position.

At the end of 2010 the APPCC launched a veterinary membership scheme which includes an ethical selling code for pet cremation to help vets prevent pet cremation fraud.

The Vice-Chairman of the Association, Stephen Mayles, explains the current problems

"The majority of pet owners trust their veterinary surgery to make all the arrangements for the cremation of their pet. What they do not realise is that the actual cremation service is completely unregulated. Pet Crematoriums have to be licensed as waste facilities and the only checks made on the handling and operation is from an environmental aspect. Many veterinary practices still believe all pet crematoria are the same and happily sell their clients cremation services from the one that gives the surgery the best deal. This often incorporates the collection of their clinical and hazardous waste. They do not necessarily investigate their procedures at the crematorium and even if they do their ideas may be very different to those of their clients"

The APPCC would like pet owners to take a more active part in arranging the cremations for their pets. Stephen goes on to explain

"The present situation is very confusing for pet owners. There are many pet crematoria operating and most look very appealing in their literature. However many of the cremation methods do not match the pet owners' expectations. We urge people who would like a pet cremation service, as opposed to a simple disposal, to contact the pet crematorium directly and not necessarily use the service their vet may be contracted to. If the pet owner is not satisfied with the details of the facility's procedures then they should try somewhere else.

Our members perform individual cremations in the same way you would expect a human cremation to be carried out. Not every pet owner will necessarily want that but they should all be getting the service they pay for. In the fraud case, if the pet owners had been given the opportunity to make these checks they might have been spared the heartache they have endured"

The APPCC is in contact with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons to try to look at the way forward on the way pet cremations are assessed and sold through surgeries. 

Owners worried about pet cremation fraud can contact the APPCC National Helpline on 01252 844478 or visit www.appcc.org.uk for further information and advice.

For further information on pet cremation see http://www.appcc.org.uk

For details of the Veterinary Information Site go to http://petcremationcodeforvets.org 

The BBC East Midlands Inside Out Programme can be found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b007tj7z

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