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Helmsley’s Dog Won’t Be Interred in Family Crypt

New York law forbids burying a dog or other animal in a human cemetery.

New York law forbids burying a dog or other animal in a human cemetery.

The late billionaire hotelier Leona Helmsley continues to make headlines as the result of her will, which left a jaw-dropping $12 million to her Maltese, Trouble.

Helmsley said in her will that the 8-year-old dog should be interred with her and her husband Harry, who died in 1997, in the family crypt in Westchester County, N.Y., upon the dog’s death. But an official with the New York Department of State’s Division of Cemeteries told the New York Post that a dog cannot be buried in a cemetery meant for people.

“Absolutely not, there’s no question about it,” says the official, who asked not to be identified. “A dog would not be allowed to be buried or interred in a cemetery. It’s for human beings.”

Officials at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Westchester, where the Helmsleys have a $1.4 million crypt in the mausoleum, said they never had any intention of honoring the will.

“We’re not allowed to bury any pets in the cemetery,” says a Sleepy Hollow representative.
Manhattan attorney Mark Borten wasn’t surprised. “Just because it’s in her will doesn’t mean it’s necessarily legit.”

Helmsley died last month of congestive heart failure at the age of 87.

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