Pentagon bans use of pet crematories

May 10, 2008 at 1:28 PM

WASHINGTON, May 10 (UPI) -- The Pentagon has ended the practice of cremating the remains of soldiers killed in Iraq at a Delaware facility that also cremated pets, sources say.

The U.S. military banned the use of pet crematories for human remains of soldiers, The Washington Post reported Saturday. The newspaper said Defense Secretary Robert Gates made the decision after an Army officer who attended the cremation of a fallen comrade's remains noticed the sign on the facility advertised pet cremation services.

The Post quoted Pentagon officials as saying they did not believe any human remains were cremated in the chamber designated for pets at the Friends Forever Pet Cremation Service near Dover Air Force Base, Del. Instead, they said, two separate crematories were used.

However, Gates found "the site and signage insensitive and entirely inappropriate for the dignified treatment of our fallen," Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell told the Post. "The families of the fallen have the secretary's deepest apology."

Morrell said it was unknown how many soldiers' remains had been cremated at the facility.

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