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It's official -- in New York pets can now spend the afterlife with their owners, same time same place. That's IF you want to be buried in a pet cemetery.

The state has formally adopted regulations proposed last fall allowing pet cemeteries to accept the cremated remains of people who literally want to be with their pets forever ... and ever. Under the regulation, which takes effect in August, pet cemeteries can accept the remains but cannot charge a fee for a human burial and can not advertise their human burial services.

A pet cemetery in Westchester County has been burying people with their pets since the 1920's and they were faced with a 3-year dispute involving a former NYPD officer, Thomas Ryan, who wanted to spend his afterlife with his three Maltese pups.

The state did not want the cemetery to accept his ashes. The Hartsdale cemetery, which claims to be the oldest final pet resting place in the nation, already had accepted the remains of Ryan's wife, Bunny, beside the couple's three Maltese dogs, named DJ 1, DJ 2 and DJ 3.

Good thing the officer had a smart niece. She is an upstate attorney and she battled the state to allow her uncle to be buried with the dogs and his wife. Bureaucrats fought the idea but eventually conceded and allowed the Hartsdale cemetery to accept human remains, but the state's remaining pet cemeteries were still banned from doing so.

With the adoption of the new regulation, pet owners from all over the state will be able to spend eternity with their four legged BFFs.

The International Association of Pet Cemeteries and Crematories estimates that there are around 400 pet cemeteries in the nation; some allow the burial of cremated human remains, and some do not.

Each county, city, and, ultimately, the pet cemetery itself, decides if they will accept humans lying side by side with their pets. Although regardless of where one chooses to be buried, it’s always a good idea to specify that choice in a will. The last thing you want is your relatives arguing that you wanted a human cemetery not a pet cemetery.

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