Belleville, Illinios — A local funeral home now has a crematorium for all loved ones who have passed away, even the four-legged variety.
For more than 125 years, Kurrus Funeral Home in Belleville has provided traditional funeral and memorial services for humans. In December, the family operated business includes crematory services for all deceased family members, pets included.
“We have put an addition onto our building and put in a cremation unit, and we have also put in a separate unit specifically done for pets,” funeral home director Dale Kurrus said. “We feel that pets are just like kids to most people. Basically, they are part of the family. We’ve been dealing with all of these family members for years. How else can we serve the family than to help them with a need that they have for pets? So we are actually treating the pet as we were to treat the human cremation.”
Kurrus is one of three funeral home directors on staff who have been trained to handle cremations. Each have been licensed by the Cremation Association of North America, and a fourth funeral director at the Belleville funeral home will be licensed soon.
Funeral Director John McQueen said the funeral home performed 2,900 pet cremations last year, exceeding the 2,200 human cremations it performed the same year. McQueen said the business is in line to cremate as many as 3,400 animals this year.
“I think you will see the pet side continue to grow in the funeral home business,” McQueen said. “We expect tremendous growth.”