Nova Scotia

Pet disposal rules questioned after backyard burial in Halifax

A woman in north end Halifax says she had no choice but to bury her dead cat behind her apartment building, prompting the Metropolitan Regional Housing Authority to rethink its policy on backyard burials.

Charlene Meisner says cremation is too expensive

Charlene Meisner buried her cat Raz in her apartment building's backyard. (CBC)

A woman in north end Halifax says she had no choice but to bury her dead cat behind her apartment building, prompting the Metropolitan Regional Housing Authority to rethink its policy on backyard burials.

Raz, short for Raspberry, recently fell seven stories from the Gordon B. Isnor Manor.

Owner Charlene Meisner says the screen was unlocked, but she didn't expect her cat to fall.

"I came home to an awful, awful disaster. It was very difficult," she said.

A neighbour helped Meisner buried Raspberry's remains in the building's backyard, despite the Department of Community Services request tenants take their dead pets to a vet.

Meisner says the building's superintendent threatened to dig up the cat himself.

She says she couldn't afford any other way.

"Cremation is crazy in price, nobody can afford it. We're all on fixed income here," said Meisner. "We all have cats here. People live longer when they have cats."

Meisner inherited the cat from a neighbour who died, a common practice in the building when pets outlive their owners.

"So I wanted to bury here because this is her home, and every time I look out the window I still know she's here," she said

The city says there aren't laws stopping people from disposing of pets on their own property.

The Metropolitan Regional Housing Authority, which manages Meisner's building, says it needs time to clarify its policy around backyard burials.

"For the comfort and safety of all tenants, Housing Nova Scotia discourages our tenants from burying pets on our properties," wrote Community Services spokeswoman Lori Errington in an email.

In the meantime, Meisner is keeping Raz's location a secret.

"They've been looking. The grave's not marked, so it would be hard," she said.

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