A necessary but perplexing part of the veterinary profession is finding a place to dispose of pets who have had to be "put down" or who have died during veterinary care, and until now, local vets have had to go out of the county for solutions to that problem.
However, that situation is about to change. The Wilson County Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) has voted to approve a conditional use permit for a local veterinary assistant to open a pet crematorium on Stewarts Ferry Pike near Gladeville.
Scott Whitlock has been a veterinary assistant in Wilson County for 23 years, and now he's planning on offering the cremation service to local vets that they have been going out of county to have done.
"All veterinarians have to go out of the county now," Whitlock said. "I'm excited to be able to offer this service and keep the business in the county."
Ashes can be returned in urns
Whitlock, who currently works for Mt. Juliet's Countryside Veterinary Hospital, says he will only be offering the service to local veterinarians, who will be able to dispose of both dogs and cats whom they have not been able to save or have been forced to "put down."
But if individual pet owners want to use Whitlock's facility, that can be arranged through their veterinarian. He will also return the ashes to pet owners in an urn, he said.
The facility will serve any of the approximately 12 veterinary clinics in the county - about six in Lebanon, and another six or so in Mt. Juliet.
It will be located on his parents' 2.06-acre property at 11435 Stewarts Ferry Pike, but will not be a destination for traffic from the public since it will only serve the dozen or more veterinarians in the county.
'No emissions or odor'
The incinerator Whitlock will be using is the same type as the one currently in use at the Mt. Juliet Animal Shelter, he said. "It has no emissions or odor," he added.
The property in question is zoned agricultural (A-1) and Whitlock's plans were brought before the BZA because his proposed use is not specifically listed under the property's zoning, leading the county building inspector to initially deny it.
Whitlock then appealed that decision to the BZA, which granted Whitlock a conditional use permit for the pet crematorium at its regular meeting on Friday morning last week.
"The business will not be open to the public, strictly open to veterinarians," Whitlock's request specified. "The use requested is for a five-year period and will constitute two uses on one tract of land, as there is a residence on the property."
The pet crematorium will be housed in an accessory structure separate from Whitlock's parents' home on the property, and a late June or early July opening is planned for the business, Whitlock said.
Writer Connie Esh can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.