It would depend on who was caring for my animal (s). If I'd hired a professional (boarding, vet etc.) then I should be contacted the moment it happened.
If it was a close family friend, or even family, I'd let them do what they were comfortable with. For instance, if it was my mother, I know she'd be all emotional and upset. She would want to tell me face to face.
However, if there were to be any questions regarding disposal of the body, then I'd take the responsiblity to decide what to do with the remains. I wouldn't want a neighbor without any large animal experiance having to deal with how to dispose of a large animal.
I guess it really depends on the situation and the person. I was out of town at a horse show one time, when I got home my husband told me about one of our dogs that had died. He didn't seem to feel the need to upset me while I was on the road. I could understand where he was coming from.
Hondo Von Dopplet L Bauernhof "Hondo"- GSD
Lilie's Tug McGraw "Tug" - Golden Retriever
Maggie - Mini Dachshund (Rescue)
Lonestar Pivo - Texas Blue Lacy
Ashe - Barn Cat
Katie / APHA