East Grinstead Pet Crematorium gets the thumbs up from independent inspectors
An East Grinstead pet crematorium has become the first operator of its kind in the region to be accredited under a new independent inspection scheme which guarantees a highly professional and dignified send-off for pets.
Chestnut Lodge Pet Crematorium and Cemetery passed a series of vigorous workplace assessments to be awarded a coveted ‘badge of honour’ which sets it apart from other services offering pet funerals.
So far just a handful of businesses across the country have achieved ‘Independently Inspected and Approved’ membership of the Association of Private Pet Cemeteries and Crematoria.
Bad practices in the pet cremation sector
The APPCC decided to introduce the inspections following a spate of alarming press reports about pets being treated in death simply as waste – much to the distress of the owners.
The aim was to boost confidence in the pet funeral industry by establishing a meaningful system of regulation.
Examples of bad practice included a couple who left their beloved dog with their vet for him to be cremated locally, only to discover to their horror that he had been transported with veterinary waste to a giant crematorium operating far away on an industrial scale. This was legal but the service fell short of the respectful cremation service they were expecting.
Another woman complained that when her cat was cremated only a ‘mouse’ worth of ashes were returned to her.
Every part of the business is closely examined
The assessments of Chestnut Lodge Pet Crematorium and Cemetery were conducted by The Consultant Connection (TCC) which specialises in consumer code compliance.
Experienced inspectors examined every aspect of the operation, from the way services are described in marketing literature to how costs and options are explained to pet owners.
As well as being satisfied that the pet crematorium was operating legally and effectively, a key part of the inspection focused on the care and respect given to a pet – from the moment it is collected right through to the cremation or burial.
The assessors were also happy that bereaved pet owners are given adequate time to make rational decisions on the type of service which best suits their budgets and requirements.
Stephen Mayles of Chestnut Lodge Pet Crematorium and Cemetery
“As Vice-Chairman of the Association, I have been involved in the setting up of this system and felt I had to be one of the first to submit myself to scrutiny. The assessment is quite frightening to go through as the whole process is examined in fine detail. However, it is worth it to get that independent approval. It is something I have been wanting to see introduced for many years. It confirms that we operate to the highest standards possible in terms of customer care, the respectful handling of all animals and the meticulous procedures we employ in our operations.
“We have been helping people for nearly 30 years now and have built our business around the needs of those who want their pets handled with care and respect and who rely on us to carry out everything in the proper manner without the shortcuts that are so prevalent in our sector.
“The pet cremation world is unregulated so it is very difficult for pet owners to know if they are getting the service they want, especially when everything looks so good these days on the internet. My advice is to always remember you are buying a service and by law it must be properly described. That means you should know how your pet will be transported, stored, how the cremation will be carried out and how measures are taken to ensure ashes are collected properly. There is nothing gruesome in the details if the service is carried out properly but if you do not get this then look elsewhere. One person’s idea of a cremation or burial may be completely at odds with yours.
The Association of Private Pet Cemeteries and Crematoria
The Chairman of the APPCC, Nick Ricketts said: “To be meaningful to the public, it is was essential that the inspections had to be both thorough and independent. The company carrying out the tests has nothing to do whatsoever with the pet funeral industry and it drafted a new consumer code for participating members.
“This code is fully geared towards protecting the public. Nothing like this has ever been seen before in the pet funeral sector.”
He added: “It is vital that people know exactly what is going to happen to their pet after death. In the emotional aftermath of losing a pet there is a danger people can be misled by flowery terms and gain the impression that the process taking place behind closed doors will happen in a far nicer way that is often the reality. People can now be assured they will be put completely in the picture so they can choose the service which best suits their needs.”
The APPCC has been setting international standards for the pet funeral industry for the past 20 years and boasts worldwide membership. The APPCC can be seen at www.appcc.org.uk