Updated: Thursday, 13 May 2010, 6:12 PM EDT
Published : Thursday, 13 May 2010, 5:25 PM EDT
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Avoiding scam artists in the pet cremation business is a little trickier than you might expect. The industry is relatively new.
The very first "pets only" funeral business opened in the United States opened in Carmel six years ago. But the business is growing and there's no one watching what's going on.
"Every single family that has a pet that's cremated has the same question in the back of their mind. And that question is, is it really my pet?" says John Pyle who runs Pet Angel, a pet crematory on the south side of Indianapolis.
Pyle says families need to ask how the crematory keeps track of each pet.
"We actually have a six step authentication process," he said.
Pyle says every animal that's brought in is tagged and numbered and has a written record of the entire process.
That's what Pyle does at his business. But it's not required. 24-Hour News 8 has learned if you buy the equipment and get zoning approval, you too can open your own pet crematory.
"Unfortunately, at this time our industry is not regulated. And unfortunately people that are in this business can do whatever they want to do," says Pyle.
Coleen Ellis is credited with having the first pet funeral business in the nation. It was in Carmel. Now she's an industry consultant and chairperson of Pet Loss Professionals Alliance , a trade group that is trying to put professional standards in place.
"And making sure they're abiding by ethical processes and abiding by the standard that we abide by in the human side," says Ellis.
Ellis and Pyle say you should find a crematory that has a tracking process for your pet, allows you inside the business unannounced and has separate equipment for what’s called community cremations, where you don't keep the ashes, and individual cremation where you do.
Remember, when it comes to cremating your pet, you are on your own. So ask questions and get it in writing.
The Better Business Bureau says it has four pet crematory companies in the Indianapolis area in its data base. None has any complaints against it.
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