What does private mean?
Most pet owners perceive that private cremations means your pet will be placed in the crematory by itself. This cannot be the case with Columbia County. The machine cannot be operated efficiently with one eight-pound cat in a machine capable of holding about 800 pounds in one load. To be cost-effective, four to six pets (would have to be) placed in the crematory at once, the individual remains would then be recovered, and hopefully, properly identified. This means several pets would have to accumulate to start the machine.
Since the stated intention was to only do a few animals per year (six to 12?), that means several months would have to pass with pets in storage and identities maintained. In any event, multiple animals in the crematory does not meet my definition of private cremation.
Crematory sales materials provide specifications that should only be used for comparison shopping. I believe Columbia County Emergency Services Division Director Pam Tucker is using numbers and projections from the sales brochure to provide cost estimates in her proposals. Like gas mileage estimates on cars, you will never actually achieve these numbers.
My crematory is rated at 75 pounds per hour. One would think a 75-pound animal would take one hour, but it takes about three hours. A 300-pound machine would complete the same load in about one hour, but use four times the fuel. There is no free lunch.
The Columbia County crematory is designed to cremate large, bulk loads efficiently; my crematory is designed to do private cremations efficiently. I cannot do bulk loads efficiently, and Columbia County cannot do private cremations at all.
John R. Glave Jr.
(John R. Glave Jr. is owner of Plumtree Pet Services.)
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