Operations Manual, Procedures & Forms

These protocols, standards and forms are used by VDART’s chartered regional DART Teams. They are designed to ensure consistency and best practices in operations at all times, and we encourage local emergency management directors to adopt them when operating pet-friendly shelters at the local level.

Operations Manual (click to download)

  • Chapter 1 – Introduction (includes Standard Operating Procedures)
  • Chapter 2 – Pets in Disasters
  • Chapter 3 – Vermont Disaster Animal Response Team (VDART)
  • Chapter 4 – Safety
  • Chapter 5 – Special Guidance



Disaster Response Forms and Explanation of Use

Title Purpose
1. Animal Daily Walking, Feeding & Cage Cleaning Schedule (Cage Card)
(In-Shelter Care)
Records identifying information for each animal housed and cared for in the emergency pet shelter (Print 2-sided on card stock, place in zippered plastic bag or sheet protector).
2. Animal Intake Form
Identifies an animal, its owners, and its health and behavior, and tracks an animal from entry into the emergency pet shelter to release to its owner, foster care, or a veterinary facility.
3. Animal Release
Records transfer of animal back to owner, to foster care or veterinary facility (with owner’s written permission).
4. Animal Id Card for Cage
(In-Shelter Care)
Identifies a pet by name, number, date in, and owner /pet picture. Picture of pet and owner is to be affixed to the back of the card. Completed Id Card to be hung from cage (in zip lock baggie with zip tie, paper clip, etc.) in a visible place. Duplicate cage card is to be filled out and given to owner at intake. Owner must present this card, along with license or one other form of id (if they do not have a license) every time they wish to see, feed, walk, etc. their pet.
5. Caution Cage Sign
(In-Shelter Care)
Warns volunteers and the general public of dangerous animals – should be printed on alarmingly bright card stock.
6. Code of Conduct
Signed by all volunteers acknowledging that they will abide by NHDART rules & regulations and all applicable state laws.
7. Communications Log
Tracks phone calls, emails, texts and other correspondence in and out of the emergency pet shelter.
8. Donations Received
Keeps track of donations of money, supplies or services to help facilitate tracking and reimbursement requests.
9. In Field Animal Tag
Identifies an animal and its crate from the field to the temporary pet shelter (Print on Avery labels and place on blank key tags).
10. Injury/Accident Form
Documents/tracks any injury or accident, no matter how minor. The form must be completed by the injured volunteer (or representative if volunteer is unable to complete) and signed by the supervisor within 24 hours of injury/accident. All bites and scratches must be documented using this form.
11. Lost Animal Form
Completed by the owner of a missing animal to request rescue from an unknown location or pick-up from known location.
12. Master Animal Intake Log
Records all animals taken into emergency pet shelter.   When feasible this form should be supplemented with an electronic spreadsheet capturing the same information.
13. Notice of Animal Taken From Property
Use as signage on the location (usually a home) where an animal has been found and removed to an emergency pet shelter. It informs the property and/or animal owner that an animal was found at this location, and directs interested parties to the receiving agency for follow-up.
14. Owner Care of Animal Sign-In/Sign-Out
(In-Shelter Care)
Tracks the movement of pets out of and back into the emergency pet shelter by their owners for daily walks and visits.
15. Personnel Roster Sign-In/Sign-Out
Keeps track of daily activities and hours of volunteers and staff.
16. Registration Agreement and Waiver
Records written consent of owner to abide by emergency pet shelter rules and releases VDART of liability.
17. Request for Animal Rescue
Distributed to animal owners AND any disaster workers in the area, to give rescue teams detailed information on location, type and number of animals to be rescued.
18. Supply Requests
Managed by the logistics officer to collect supply & equipment needs for the emergency pet shelter.
19. Veterinarian Record
(In-Shelter Care)
Completed by the on-site veterinarian when an animal needs supportive care or further medical treatment.
20. Volunteer Application
& Release of Liability
Determines the skills and availability of emergency volunteers. The application and release should be double-sided on one piece of paper.
21. Volunteer Identification
Provides a sample template for temporary ID badges for emergent volunteers. Can be color-coded according to the job assignment. Photo IDs should also be presented when using this badge.
22. Volunteer Schedule
Allows the shelter manager to track and schedule volunteers during the course of the activation.

All documents © 2014 Vermont Disaster Animal Response Team (“VDART”). Documents may not be altered without the express consent of VDART.