Animal lovers in the Borders in mourning for dead pets will no longer have to send them outside the region to be cremated if a new planning bid secures approval.
Scottish Borders Council has received a retrospective application from animal sanctuary boss Mark Riddell for his Borders Pet Crematorium business in Melrose’s Annay Road.
Currently pet owners here have to send their late animals outside the Borders to be disposed of, most commonly to South Lanarkshire or to Ayrshire.
Mr Riddell, of Dingleton Drive in Melrose, has run a private animal rescue sanctuary in the town since 2004, and last year he decided to add a crematorium to his 100 Aker Wood operation.
His aim, he says, is to provide a more dignified passing for pets rather than leaving them to be collected from veterinary surgeries, stored in freezers then disposed of in bodybags alongside clinical waste.
If approved, the new venture will add three staff to the 10 he already employs.
The new crematorium, designed for the disposal of small pets, actually started operating in February but failed to secure planning consent first, so the current application is being submitted retrospectively.
The 29sq m part of the building now housing the crematorium was previously used to display garden sheds and fencing materials.
Mr Riddell said: “I have had my incinerator for the disposal of my rescue animals and have utilised it to provide a pet crematorium within the Scottish Borders, which is badly needed.
“Most pets are sent to crematoriums outside the area to Lanark and Ayrshire.
“The machine is one of the most environmentally-compliant on the market.”
Mr Riddell said that, if agreed, the new crematorium would generate an additional 10 car visits a day, all by appointment.
He added: “This application is for a change of use or extension of the use of the existing building to house a pet crematorium.
“This is merely an extension to my existing business, not a replacement.
“It is a low-capacity incinerator used to cremate small pets, and all ashes are returned to the owners.”
A decision on Mr Riddell’s application is expected to be made by the council’s planners within the next few weeks.
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