RELIGION

Four Feet Under: America’s Oldest Pet Cemetery

Feb 06, 2014 at 8:03 AM ET

The Ramones may not want to be buried in a pet cemetery*—but for 118 years many of New York’s elite have entombed their cremated remains alongside their fallen animal brothers at the nation’s first pet cemetery in Hartsdale, New York.

Established in 1896 by New York City veterinarian Dr. Samuel K. Johnson, Hartsdale Pet Cemetery is also this country’s oldest. Now owned by the Martin family, the cemetery’s five acres are the final resting place for more than 70,000 pets. It’s mostly dogs and cats, but there are lots of birds, lizards, hamsters and one lion cub owned by a Hungarian princess. Mariah Carey’s cat, Clarence, is buried there. So is one of 50 Cent’s pooches that was killed when Jackass’ Steve-O accidentally let the dog out.

“[Steve-O] is a very big animal lover,” says 33-year old Brian Martin, the youngest family member working at the cemetery. “He was telling us he went to clown college and he wanted to be in the circus before any of the Jackass stuff, and he quit because [of] the way they treated the animals.”

Nicknamed “The Peaceful Kingdom,” Hartsdale Pet Cemetery is nondenominational—meaning Jewish, Christian and Muslim pets can put aside their differences and spend eternity in harmony.

Vocativ spent the day at the Hartsdale Pet Cemetery. We’re thinking about pitching the Martin Family to premium cable for a new show called Four Feet Under.

*Being sedated, however, was viewed positively by The Ramones.