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Madden Bill To Regulate Pet Cemetery Maintenance Fees Clears Senate

TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senator Fred H. Madden that would prevent pet cemetery owners from assessing maintenance fees retroactively has been approved by the Senate.

“Pet owners have the right to expect a level of finality when making decisions regarding the death of a family pet,” said Senator Madden, D-Camden and Gloucester. “This bill will ensure that grieving pet lovers will not fact the burden of future claims for payments due to changes to ownership of a pet cemetery or other company decisions.”

This comes in response to a District 4 resident who was charged $325 in overdue maintenance fees for a pet that had been buried 29 years before. The current cemetery owner tried to collect fees of the previous owner that were never billed.

Senator Madden’s measure, S-1885, would prohibit pet cemetery owners from retroactively charging maintenance fees for pets buried prior to February 8, 1986. Under current law, pet cemeteries are permitted to charge annual or permanent maintenance fees to pet owners who have buried a deceased pet. This measure would prohibit the retroactive fees regardless of any change in cemetery ownership.

This measure was released from the Senate Commerce Committee on March 7. It now awaits Assembly consideration.

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