This is sad, and horrible, but I found my dog dead on the shoulder of the highway last night, and I don't know whether I should just leave him there and let nature dispose of what's left, or try to.. I guess scrape him up and bury the remains.

I'm thinking about respect for him, and perhaps the ethics of leaving it out on the side of the road for neighbors to see. Has anyone else dealt with this before?

It's right next to my driveway, we live on a highway.

Update: The dog was buried, for those curious. I recommend burying the dog to anyone else who finds themselves in this situation. There's closure in it, and the images start to go away with your pet off the street and respectfully buried. It's a hard thing, and I needed some help with it, but it's worth doing.


1 Answer 1


I'm sorry for your loss.

A large or smelly animal is usually picked up by your state highway administration, someone in the county/city government and/or the hunting/wildlife officials, depending on your local laws (this is in the US, I'm not sure about possibilities in other countries). You can call the proper officials for your location to let them know, which may speed pick up. The disposal of these bodies varies from agency to agency, but they may be incinerated, buried, taken to a local landfill, or made into compost.

Small animals are usually left to decompose (or be eaten) in place.

You certainly CAN bury the body yourself, and if it's too small for an official to pick it up, it would probably be easier for you emotionally than watching it decay over time. If you had a large dog and are uncomfortable with the official disposal method in your area, I would also recommend that you bury the body yourself.

Some locations require you to make sure the body has been disposed of within a certain amount of time of learning of its death (example: Indiana). If you plan to leave it on the side of the road, check your local laws.


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