CMDART – Central Massachusestts Disaster Animal Response Team

Press Release

The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited deoccupied city of Bucha on the outskirts of Kyiv. Talking to foreign press he said, that he knows about "thousands of people killed and tortured, with severed limbs, raped women, murdered children" by Russian soldiers. The President noted, that these are war crimes, and they will be recognized by the world as genocide.

Pet Rock Festival

Central Mass/Douglas – The Central Massachusetts Disaster Animal Response Team, Inc (CMDART) was one of more than 150 animal groups (and approximately 2700 people) to attend this year’s Pet Rock Festival in Grafton on Sept 8. This was the 21st year of the Pet Rock Festival held each year to help benefit animal organizations across New England.   Pet Rock Fest continues to put the spotlight on animal welfare organizations that work hard to promote kindness to animals. Pet Rock Fest gives its proceeds to worthy animal related charities that support a variety of causes, from shelters to law reform to farm animal sanctuaries and disaster response such as CMDART.


  CMDART attends Pet Rock yearly to help promote personal emergency prevention education for pet owners ahead of the next disaster. “While we do fun things like agility at Pet Rock to draw people and to try to raise funds to help our mission, our primary purpose there is to educate people to be ready before the next emergency”. This year 45 groups of pet owners went through our agility course each receiving pet prevention literature while having fun with their canine. “Some years we have had more than 90 people standing in line to try the course with their pets. Our team did a great job talking up disaster prevention this year,” Griffin said. Pet Rock’s schedule falls during hurricane season. Two years ago, the team and Pet Rock, did a major fund-raising effort for Hurricanes Harvey and Florence.    


 CMDART is a regional animal disaster team, covering Worcester County. The team works in collaboration with local animal control, emergency management agencies, local Community Emergency Response Teams (CERTs), MAVOAD (Volunteers Organized Active in Disasters), the Medical Reserve Corp, American Red Cross, other animal disaster organizations and emergency service organizations.


CMDART is entirely self funded, other than from equipment supplies gratefully received from grants through the Central Region Homeland Security Advisory Council and gifts from local organizations like Dean Bank, Savers and Unibank. The team has received a few small sponsorships and stipends from some towns to offer trainings and from those who seek to become animal disaster responders.   


Over the past couple of years, CMDART has aided response to the local tornadoes, animal hoarding incidents, large scale cruelty cases, fires involving animals, and large animal equine rescues. They also sent supplies to aid pet owners in the Merrimack Gas Explosion. The team in increasingly being asked to participate in local emergency operation practice drills and exercises so that pet issues are addressed. “Emergency Managers know that to address the pet owners issues reduces the likelihood of public safety issues because pet owners will risk themselves to take care of their pets,“ said JoAnn Griffin, President and Team Lead for CMDART.

This year, a portion of CMDART’s proceeds from Pet Rock has gone to Bahama’s Humane Society to aid the devastating loss following Hurricane Dorian. 

CMDART is scheduling animal disaster responder training coming up prior to Thanksgiving and into the winter months. They also hope to offer some Pet First Aid clinics around our region. For more information and to sign up an interest, go to or contact [email protected]. For membership questions, contact [email protected]  Please check out their Facebook page also. CMDART asks people to begin to think of them as the holidays draw near by going to Amazon Smile and searching out  the team by its full name. Donations can also be sent to CMDART, Inc, PO Box 1317, Douglas, MA 01516






CMDART End of year 2017


Daisy’s Animal Rescue League Director and Founder, Melissa Prescott and their team, provided needed manpower for the effort.  ” It was DARL’s pleasure to collaborate with such an organized and experienced group of people. We all worked very hard to get donations to help the people and pets in need during such a tragic time.”

Locally, CMDART team members also helped at local Central Mass shelters like Second Chance of Brookfield, when dogs and cats were shipped up from hurricane- ravaged states.   “This is one of the blessings that came from the hurricanes. Thousands of sheltered animals got rescued from a long-term sheltering in the South, some that were scheduled for euthanasia. They were given an option for new life as a result of the hurricanes”, Griffin said.  She said animal shelters located in the devastated areas find resources to ship animals out of their local shelters. They do this both to rescue them from the disasters devastation and to make room for owned animals that have to be temporarily sheltered or missing animals that will hopefully be re-united with owners.

“At Second Chance we took in an overwhelming 99 pets from Hurricane Irma in just 48 hours.  This meant that our need for care of these pets increased dramatically.  We reached out to CMDART and they sent several amazing volunteers to help with all the tasks of caring for these pets”, said Sheryl Blancato, Executive Director of Second Chance Animal Services with headquarters in East/North Brookfields.  “It helped to get these pets the care they needed during this emergency.  We sincerely appreciated the volunteer help of CMDART to help with these pets.  These were pets that were already in shelters in FL that had to be evacuated to make room for pets coming in from the community.  Therefore it was urgent to move as many of these pets as possible during this critical time.  The help of CMDART was extremely important in the accomplishment of this mission. “

While the team heeded the call to help out of state, duties and training needed to continue here at home in Central Mass. Fifty –three (53) new volunteers were trained and added to the team in 2016, 2017. Together with local emergency management and animal control, volunteers participated in local trainings, practice exercises, and continued their mission to educate the public on their personal responsibility for preparedness.   

January 3, 2018, will start the 15th year of service for CMDART. The Board of Directors is currently seeking additional Board members to aid the administration of our non-profit . These directors will help to support our forward progress , assist a manageable distribution of tasks, and assist the establishment of strategic short and long-range goals.  Central Mass residency preferred. For more information, contact [email protected], go to our website or call 508-476-2873.