WASHINGTON — Deceased pet disposal is a grim topic, but the information is necessary for pet owners. When your pet passes over the rainbow bridge, how are you supposed to dispose of it?

It all may seem daunting, but the Humane Rescue Alliance said there are a number of solutions for pet owners having to deal with the death of their family member.

Cremation and burial are both options, but each pose their own obstacles. For either choice, the HRA said there are certain measures that should be taken first.

So, what exactly should you do?

First, call your veterinarian. They can provide you with resources to ease the transition. Your veterinarian can provide information on burial and cremation services.

Maureen Sosa, Director of Pet Retention at the Humane Rescue Alliance, said pet owners shouldn't cremate their pets themselves.

"We encourage people to arrange to have their animal cremated," Sosa said. "The Humane Rescue Alliance provides communal cremation for D.C. pets free of charge. We can also connect people with private cremation companies."

And if you have a backyard, you may want to bury your pet. But HRA doesn't encourage people to bury their animals if they've been euthanized, as wildlife scavenging on the remains could be poisoned by the euthanasia solution.

"If the animal died naturally, this is not much of a concern if the animal is buried deep enough," Sosa said.

If you can't bury your pet in a yard, D.C. is getting its first pet cemetery at the historic Congressional Cemetery for owners who don't want to go the cremation route.

The cemetery will span about third of an acre at the 35-acre cemetery, and will accept all pets.

There are also pet cemeteries across Virginia for those who don't mind traveling a little bit.

For animals that have been hit by a vehicle and are in public spaces, D.C. has a Dead Animal Collection service through the Department of Public Works to collect dead animals from those public areas.

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