Bellevue considers pet funeral home

Bellevue Council is being asked to approve a zoning permit that would allow the opening of a pet funeral home and crematory on Ohio River Boulevard.

The property at 4325 Ohio River Blvd., currently a used car sales lot, lies within the joint zoning code’s highway commercial district. In this zone, a crematory is an accepted conditional use, meaning that its use as such must be approved by the borough council, which also may impose additional conditions, according to Bellevue solicitor Matt Racunas.

The proposed pet funeral home and crematory is a relatively new venture for a family-owned company that has operated a funeral home and crematory for humans since 1941. Several generations of the Green family have operated the George Irvin Green Funeral Home in Munhall.

As part of the most recent generation to enter the family business, Todd Green directs Green Pet Services, a company that recognizes that for many, many people, pets are members of the family, and people both need and want to commemorate their lives, and deaths, with funeral services, and cremation in many cases.

Within the past year, Green said, pet services have started being offered through the Munhall location, but the company is now looking for a facility that will be dedicated completely to “raising the quality of care for pet families.”

Currently, Green said, the remains of pets are being shipped to various areas, some out of state, for cremation, usually through a veterinarian’s office. Green said that his company will work with area veterinarians, but also be open to families who want to bypass the vet and bring their furry friends directly to a funeral home dedicated to serving animals and those who love them.

The company also offers funeral services for pets, and can arrange for burial in local pet cemeteries for those who do not choose cremation.

Bellevue code enforcement officer Jim DelCroix has recommended that council approve the conditional use permit, and a public hearing on the application will be held Feb. 27 at 6 p.m. in the borough hall.

The first question that arose among council members was the potential for smoke and emissions , as well as odor. Green said that neither are a problem, as crematories can operate only with a permit issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, which enforces the second most stringent emissions regulations in the United States, Green said. The machines used in a crematory are heavily regulated in both the United States and Europe, he said, and those operating the machines must be certified by the DEP.

There are some 2,000 crematories being operated in the United States, Green said.