[HISTORY: Derived from Art. III of Ch. XXV of the Charter and Ordinances, 1974, of the City of Buffalo. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Infectious diseases — See Ch. 158.
No death certificate shall be valid unless signed by a medical examiner or a regularly licensed physician.
It shall not be lawful for any person to allow the dead and unembalmed body of any human being to remain unburied for a longer period than three days without special permission from the Health Commissioner; nor shall any dead body be left unburied more than six days without such permission; nor shall any person allow the dead body of any human being to be exposed or retained for any time whatever to the peril or prejudice of the lives or health of any person.
It shall be the duty of every person to report to the Department of Health the discovery or knowledge by him of the whereabouts of any dead human being or any parts thereof if there is any reason to believe that the death or place of such body is not properly known.
No person shall dispose of any dead body of a human being by interment, cremation or any other means without a permit from the Health Commissioner nor in any manner than in accordance with the rules of the Department of Health.
No sexton, undertaker nor any other person shall assist, countenance or allow, directly or indirectly, the disposition of any human body for which permit has not been given.
In case any person dies without medical attendance or any physician refuses to sign a certificate, or in case it is impossible to obtain a physician, the diagnostician of the Department of Health shall investigate the matter and report to the Department and be authorized to issue a death certificate. In case of a person dying from violence or under suspicious circumstances, the case is to be referred to the County Medical Examiner.
No undertaker shall use any vehicle other than a hearse for the conveyance of the body of any person dead from any of the infectious diseases mentioned in § 158-1 of Chapter 158; nor shall the body of a person dead of any such infectious disease be carried into any church, hall or public place or otherwise exposed to view; provided, however, that this provision shall not apply to cases of tuberculosis, typhoid fever, puerperal septicemia or malarial fever. No body of a person dead from any infectious disease, except syphilis and gonorrhea, shall be brought into the City without a special permit from the Health Commissioner.
No common carrier or person in charge of any vessel, car or conveyance of any kind, public or private, shall convey or allow to be conveyed the body of any dead human being without a permit from the Health Commissioner nor of any person dead of any infectious disease except in strict accordance with the rules of the Health Department.
In case of death from any infectious diseases, such as smallpox, scarlet fever, diphtheria, any form of croup, yellow fever, typhus, leprosy, Asiatic cholera, bubonic plague or epidemic cerebrospinal meningitis, it shall be the duty of the undertaker in charge of the body of the deceased to cause such body to be buried within 24 hours after death; and the undertaker in charge of the funeral of any person dying of any such disease must so conduct such funeral that it shall be absolutely private. Any undertaker in charge of such funeral shall properly disinfect every conveyance used at such funeral before the same shall be used again and shall also disinfect, to the satisfaction of the Health Commissioner, any and every article of whatever nature which it was necessary for him to use in the house where such death occurred; and he shall not use or permit to be used at such funerals any unnecessary articles, such as rugs, flowers or plants, in such house, unless such articles so employed shall immediately thereafter be destroyed by fire.
No disinterment shall be made except between sunrise and sunset. This section applies to removals from one grave to another in the same cemetery as well as to another cemetery.
No cemetery vault other than established for the reception of dead human bodies shall be established without the authority of the Department of Health. Plans of mortuaries, etc., must be approved by the Department of Health.
When human remains are buried in a grave, the last and topmost casket or coffin shall be at least two feet below the level of the existing established grade.
No person in charge of any cemetery or receptacle for the dead shall receive for burial or disposition any body without an accompanying certificate or permit from lawful authority.
The person in charge of the place of burial, cremation or other disposition shall keep a record of all bodies interred or otherwise disposed of on the premises under his charge, in each case stating the name of each deceased person, place of death, date of burial or disposal and name and address of the funeral director or undertaker, which record shall at all times be open to official inspection.
He shall also cause every receiving vault within the City to be cleared, cleaned and disinfected before the first day of May each year.
He shall not permit any dead body to be kept in any receiving vault over 72 hours between May 1 and November 1.
No body shall be removed from this City by public conveyance, unless prepared in accordance with the specifications adopted by the Department of Health.
It shall be the duty of any person having charge of articles used at funerals of persons dead of infectious or contagious diseases to have the same properly disinfected before being used again.
No person shall bury any body of a human being in any place other than a registered burial ground.
No person or association shall use or make overground vaults, tombs or other receptacles for the dead, except when made of stone with stone covering, cemented on, unless the coffin or casket is permanently and hermetically sealed in a metal case.
The undertaker shall be entitled to demand and receive from the physician in attendance a death certificate, and in case of his refusal, shall report to the Department of Health.
It shall not be lawful to disinter or expose the remains of a person who shall have died from an infectious or contagious disease within 10 years after burial, nor to disinter or expose any human remains within one year after burial, without a permit from the Commissioner of Health. Such disinterment or exposure shall only be made under the supervision of the Commissioner of Health and pursuant to such rules and regulations as may be adopted by the Department of Health.
It shall be the duty of the undertaker in charge, if a person dies of infectious or contagious diseases, except syphilis and gonorrhea, if such body is sent out of the City limits, to make affidavit when the body is presented for shipment that it will be prepared according to the rules of the Department of Health.
All dead bodies brought to the City from a distance must be buried by permit from the Health Commissioner, which the undertaker must first obtain before burial.
The undertaker in charge shall cause every article used in preparation for burial of bodies of persons dying of infectious or contagious disease to be disinfected before removal from the house.
The undertaker in charge of bodies of persons dying from smallpox, diphtheria, yellow fever, scarlet fever, typhus or other pestilential diseases shall at once cause the body to be disinfected, wrapped in a sheet, wet with a solution of bichloride of mercury, 1:500, and placed immediately in a coffin, the inner surface of which must be lined with raw cotton, and made absolutely tight and not reopened. No body of a person dead of infectious or contagious diseases shall be placed in iceboxes.
No permit for removing any dead body out of Town shall be given until the undertaker shall certify to compliance with the provisions of § 116-5.
No body of a person having died from a contagious disease, except syphilis and gonorrhea, shall be removed from the City of Buffalo, except when taken in a hearse for burial in a cemetery adjacent to the City, unless said body is heremetically sealed in a metallic case; and no such body shall be brought into or through Buffalo, except in a hearse direct from the place of death adjacent to the City for burial in the City or in an immediately adjacent cemetery, unless said body is similarly enclosed.
All reports required to be made to the Department of Health shall be made upon forms or blanks prescribed or furnished by the Department and shall be written in ink, and the nomenclature used shall be that adopted by the Department of Health.
It shall be the duty of every sexton or other person having charge of any burying ground, cemetery or vault, as aforesaid, who shall receive any such permit, to preserve and return the same to the Registrar before 12:00 noon of the Monday following the day of burial. No sexton, undertaker or other person shall bury or cause to be buried the body of any deceased person within the City of Buffalo except in such grounds as are now known and used as burial grounds or such as shall hereafter be by law designated and authorized to be used as such.
Whenever a permit for burial is applied for in case of death without the attendance of a physician or it is impossible to obtain a physician's certificate, it shall be the duty of the diagnostician of the Department of Health to investigate the cause and circumstances of such death and to make and sign the certificate required by § 116-5 of this chapter; and if not satisfied as to the cause and circumstances of such death, he shall refer the case to one of the Medical Examiners of the County for investigation and report.
Whenever any person shall die within the City of Buffalo it shall be the duty of the physician attending such person during his or her last illness, or of the County Medical Examiner when the case comes under his notice and jurisdiction, to furnish and deliver to the undertaker or other person superintending the burial of said person (or file directly in the office of the Registrar) a certificate, duly signed, setting forth as far as the same can be ascertained the name, age, color, sex, nativity (giving state or country), occupation, whether married or single, duration of residence in the City of Buffalo, cause, date and place of death (giving street and number) and duration of last sickness of such deceased person; and it shall be the duty of the undertaker or other person in charge of the burial of said deceased person to state in said certificate the date and place of burial and to file the same in the office of the Registrar, aforesaid, within 24 hours after said death, provided that in case of death from smallpox, scarlet fever, malignant diphtheria or other pestilential diseases, said certificate shall be so made and filed immediately after such death. The permit for burial of all persons must, where practicable, be procured from the Registrar at least 24 hours before the hour fixed for burial.
Whenever any person shall die of smallpox or varioloid, it shall be the duty of the sexton, undertaker or other person having charge of the body of such deceased person to report to the Department of Health immediately and before burying such body. It shall not be lawful for any sexton, undertaker or other person having charge of such body to take the same into a church or other public place for the purpose of holding funeral or other ceremonies, but such body shall be conveyed by the most direct route from the house wherein such person died to the place of interment.
The provisions of this chapter relating to special permits and to metallic caskets on removal from the City shall not apply to burials to be made at the Pine Hill Cemetery, in the Town of Cheektowaga, adjoining the City line, nor to burials to be made at Lime Stone Cemetery, in the Town of West Seneca, also adjoining the City line.
Every person who acts as sexton or undertaker in the City of Buffalo or who has charge or care of any vault, tomb, burying place or cemetery for the reception of the dead or where the bodies of any human beings are deposited shall cause his or her name and residence and the name of his or her charge and duties to be registered with the Department of Health.
No captain, agent or person having charge of or attached to any ferry boat, sailing or other vessel nor any person in charge of any vehicle or public or private conveyance shall convey or allow to be conveyed therein, by any means aforesaid, nor shall any person convey or allow to be carried or conveyed in any manner, from or in the City of Buffalo, the dead body of any human being or any part thereof without a permit therefor from the Department of Health; and the proper coupon for that purpose attached to such a permit, when issued, shall be preserved and returned to the Department in accordance with its regulations by the proper officer or person on such boat or vessel and the proper person in charge of any train of cars or vehicles on which any such body may be carried from said City.
Any undertaker wishing a police escort for a funeral burial procession may apply to the Police Department Traffic Bureau for such escort. Funeral escort service will be provided based on the availability of police officers on that particular day. Fees for such service will be as outlined in Chapter 175, Fees.
[Added 5-28-1992, effective 7-1-1992]
All vaults must be inspected after May 1, each year, and oftener if necessary. The Health Commissioner shall have the power to close or cause to be altered any vault or other receptacle for the dead if, in his judgment, such action is for the interest of public health.
No permits will be granted for the burial upon returns of stillbirths unless said returns are certified by a registered physician.
Every permit for burial of a dead body shall be immediately returned to the Registrar of Vital Statistics when demand for the same is made.
No undertaker shall hold any funeral from any house that is placarded for infectious diseases otherwise than in accordance with the ordinances governing the burials of persons dead of contagious or infectious diseases.
No person shall embalm any dead body without a written certificate from the attending physician that there are no facts attending the illness and death of the person that would preclude such embalming from a medicolegal standpoint. Provisions of this section shall not apply to cases of death from injury or accident.
No person, company or corporation shall embalm the body of a deceased person unless he or it shall have first conformed to the rules and regulations prescribed by the Department of Health and procured a permit from the Health Commissioner, nor shall such permit be granted until all the rules and regulations of the Department of Health or the Commissioner have been complied with.