VDART’s volunteers are trained to provide sheltering services for companion animals when activated by appropriate authorities during federal and state disaster declarations. The group does not perform small or large animal search and rescue, which is generally the responsibility of municipal animal control officers, the police, fire department, and some specialized animal assistance organizations. Our regional teams can only be activated through the Office of the State Veterinarian at the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Farms and Markets (VAAFM), where there are defined procedures to follow.
Please note that official requests for activation may only be made by appropriate municipal authorities and partner organizations such as the American Red Cross and other recognized Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOADs).
If you have a specific emergency situation involving animals in need of immediate assistance as the result of a natural or man-made disaster, please contact one of the following resources based upon the type of animal(s) involved:
- For companion animals, contact your local animal control officer (who can typically be reached through your town clerk’s office), your local animal shelter or veterinary office.
- For wildlife, contact your local game warden or a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.
- For livestock, contact the Vermont Large Animal Technical Rescue Coalition at(802) 355-7219.
Accessing Sheltering Services of a Regional DART Team by Appropriate Authorities:
- During normal business hours (Monday – Friday, 7:45 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.), contact the Agency of Agriculture at 802-828-2421. Ask to speak with, in order, Dr. Kristin Haas, Dr. Shelley Mehlenbacher or Dr. Kathy McNamara. If these veterinarians are not available, an alternate Agency of Agriculture employee can approve the activation of VDART Regional and Independent Teams under SSF 11 & the Animal Disaster Emergency Plan (ADEP). This formal procedure is necessary to ensure adequate State coordination and indemnification of the DART response teams.
- After business hours and weekends, contact the Vermont Emergency Management (VEM) Duty Officer (1-800-347-0488).
- When the Vermont State Emergency Operations Center has been stood up (1-800-347-0488) in most instances, a VAAFM representative will be assigned to the SEOC.