A tour of Parisian pet cemetery Cimetiere du Chiens

A tour of Parisian pet cemetery Cimetiere du Chiens

The oldest public pet cemetery in the world is said to be the Cimetiere du Chiens in Paris which dates from 1899.

A law had been passed in 1898 stating that dead pets had to be hygienically buried at least 100 metres from the nearest home.

Attorney Georges Harmois and journalist, feminist, actress and animal lover Marguerite Durand came up with the idea of a "cemetery for dogs and other domestic animals" on the outskirts of Paris.

In June, 1899, digging began on land bordering the river in Asnières-sur-Seine. The new cemetery opened for business that summer, and over the years more than 40,000 animals have been buried in the Cimetière des Chiens - not just dogs, but also cats, a racehorse, a lion (which belonged to Marguerite Durand), a monkey, and rabbits, hamsters, mice, birds, and fish.

Barry the St Bernard has a large monument at the entrance to the cemetery, which is on the banks of the river Seine at Asnieres-sur-Seine.

Barry belonged to the monks of an Alpine Hospice on the border of Switzerland and Italy. His monument says: “Having saved the lives of 40 people, he was killed by the 41st” Legend has it he was shot in mistake for a wolf....but many believe this to be untrue.

Barry is not buried in the cemetery. After his death in 1814, the dog was handed over to a taxidermist, and his stuffed body displayed at the Natural History Museum of Bern, Switzerland, pictured above right,

Rin Tin Tin is also buried here – the country of his birth. The German Shepherd pup was found in the ruins of a bombed kennel in France and taken back to America by a soldier where he found fame in some 26 Warner Brothers films before his death in 1932.

Some resting places are marked with just a simple plaque. Others have photos and some have hugely elaborate headstones and monuments.

The impressive entrance to the cemetery was designed by famous architect Eugene Petit in Art Nouveau style.

The cemetery closed briefly in 1987 and several changes of ownership followed. Since 1997 it has been managed by the Asnieres Town Council.

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