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Opening Arguments

Ashes of love

In case you thought you'd heard of every crime in the book:

The owners of a Henryville funeral home are accused of selling a family phony ashes, telling them they were of their dead pet.


State police had been investigating Richard D. Pyke, 42, and his son, Richard "Bradley" Pyke, 19, in connection with suspected illegal activity at the R.D. Pyke Funeral Home, and had seized the bodies of several pets awaiting cremation on Tuesday.


A person who had dropped off their dog to be cremated on Monday called police on Wednesday, telling them that the Pykes had called them to say the ashes were ready, police said.

Investigators said they confirmed the person's dog was among those that had been taken from the funeral home by authorities, and therefore could not have been cremated.

Selling phony ashes to grieving pet owners -- man, that's creepy.

It never would have occurred to me that a funeral home would offer pet cremation. I'm not always the sentimental type, but when my cat Pierre died at the ripe old age of 19, I decided to have him cremated so I could spread his ashes in the back yard he loved so much. So I asked -- naturally -- at his vet's office, and they said sure. I even paid extra to make sure it was him and only him in the little decorated tin box I took home with me.

Never did get around to the scattering-the-ashes part, though. Pierre is still in his tin box, in between "Joy of Cooking" and "Dinner on the Diner" on one of my cookbook shelves. It is oddly comforting to still have him in the house with me.

If it is him.