What is DelCART?

Delaware County Animal Response Team (DelCART) is a chapter of the Pennsylvania Animal Response Team (PART), an organization that responds to disasters affecting domesticated animals (household pets and livestock) throughout the state. County Animal Response Teams are 501(c)(3) non-profits made up of volunteers trained in animal care and sheltering. We work closely with our local emergency management agencies (EMA). DelCART is also part of the Delaware County Citizen Corps, the county’s emergency volunteer organization.

How do I contact DelCART?

For general inquiries, email delcartpa@gmail.com.

In an emergency, please dial 911. DelCART can only be activated by Delaware County Emergency Services or the Pennsylvania Animal Response Team. We cannot mobilize without prior approval from county or state authorities.

Stay informed about DelCART activities by following us on Facebook and Twitter.

How can I join DelCART?

Whether an animal lover, experienced animal handler, or veterinary professional, DelCART needs volunteers at every skill level! CART volunteers receive training in the basics of emergency response and animal sheltering in order to work effectively as a team in a crisis. Training is free and consists of self-paced online coursework, in-person classes and participation in live drills and exercises.

Sign up to receive more information about volunteering with DelCART

What is the PETS Act?

The Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards (PETS) Act was passed by the U.S. Congress in 2006. It stipulates that state and local emergency plans must include provisions for individuals with household pets and service animals in the event of a disaster. The PETS Act covers evacuation and transportation, sheltering (incl. food, water, hygiene, etc.), emergency veterinary care, record keeping and reunification procedures. It does NOT specify how these services are rendered (plans vary by state) or require private accommodations or carriers to admit pets (access for service animals is covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act).

More information about the PETS Act

What does DelCART do?

  • In coordination with county emergency services and the Pennsylvania Animal Response Team (PART), DelCART establishes and maintains temporary shelters for owned animals displaced by a disaster for the duration of the incident.
  • While in our care, we provide for an animal’s basic needs and ensure its safety and wellbeing until it is safe to return home.
  • Experienced volunteers are available to assist other animal welfare groups with major operations (e.g., feral colony trap/neuter/return projects, hoarding seizures, etc.).
  • We also promote pet emergency preparedness through public outreach.

More information about DelCART

If you would like DelCART to speak to your organization or distribute preparedness information at a public event, please email delcartpa@gmail.com.

What doesn’t DelCART do?

How can I prepare for emergencies?

There are many instructive online resources to help you and your family become better prepared for an emergency:

Make sure to plan for the whole family, including pets! Guides and checklists for pet preparedness can be found here:

Stay informed in emergencies by signing up for state and local alerts:

If you need to evacuate with a pet

In the event of an emergency where you need to evacuate, BRING YOUR PET WITH YOU! If it is not safe for you, it is not safe for your pet. You will not be allowed to reenter a declared evacuation zone to retrieve them later should conditions worsen. DelCART will be activated to provide pet-friendly shelter and the location(s) will be announced along with other emergency instructions.

Should you or your pet have any special health, habitat or transport needs, consider leaving an at-risk area ahead of a mandatory order for your own safety and comfort. Before disaster strikes, discuss the possibility of evacuating with your pet to the homes of family or friends.

Although hotels are under no obligation to admit animals - even in an emergency - many offer pet-friendly accommodations. Check the website or call ahead for their specific policy. Other finding aids include:

Who is responsible for stray animals in my area?

There is currently no county-wide public animal control agency or open intake shelter for Delaware County. Individual boroughs and townships are responsible for providing for the wellbeing of their residents in regard to animal concerns, such as loose or dangerous dogs and sick or injured wildlife.

A few municipalities maintain their own public animal wardens, but most contract with private pest control companies (some with “animal control” in their name, though not public agencies) for specific tasks (e.g., removal of nuisance wildlife).

Contact your local office of public health and/or public safety to determine how animal control is handled in your area. In an emergency, dial 911 and ask to be connected to the agency responsible for stray pets or sick/injured wildlife and game animals.

Humane Society officers are responsible for investigating reports of animal cruelty and enforcing Pennsylvania Dog Law. Other rules and penalties regarding pet ownership are governed by local ordinance and will vary depending on the municipality. Consult your township office or website for more information.

What are Pennsylvania's Dog Laws?

Registry of PA Humane Society Officers

I lost my pet! What do I do?

Unfortunately, DelCART does not have the personnel or resources to assist in locating a missing pet. Without a central animal intake facility in Delaware County, lost pets can end up in any number of facilities, including outside the county at Brandywine Valley SPCA, which contracts with some (but not all) municipalities for stray intake. Contact your local office of public health and/or public safety to find out where animals are held in your area. But don’t limit your search: your missing pet could have been picked up in a neighboring jurisdiction and taken elsewhere!

Many of your neighbors are committed to reuniting lost animals with their families and will generously offer help and advice. Make use of these community resources to raise awareness of your lost pet in Delaware County:

For flyers and social media posts, always include a photo and description of the missing pet, the date lost, the location last seen and your contact information if found.

Beware of scammers who may claim to have found your pet and demand a reward. Withhold some identifying feature not visible in photos to confirm the animal is in their possession and arrange to meet in a safe public location, such as a police station parking lot.

Be sure to microchip your pet to improve your chances of a quick and happy reunion!

I found a pet! What do I do?

If the found animal is sick, injured, deceased or cannot be handled safely for whatever reason, do NOT attempt to take it under control! If on the run, do not chase. Take a photograph (if possible), dial 911 and ask to make a report to animal control.

Do not assume an animal is stray or abandoned based on condition alone. Accidents happen and the animal may have been lost for some time, despite all efforts by its family to find it.

Do not attempt to rehome an animal unless every avenue to locate its original owners has been exhausted. If you cannot undertake the search yourself, dial 911 and arrange to transfer custody to the proper authority for your municipality (animal control, police, etc.).

Make use of these community resources to reunite a found pet in Delaware County:

Beware of scammers who may claim to be a pet’s owner. Request proof of ownership and arrange to meet in a safe public location, such as a police station parking lot.

Wildlife emergencies

Baby animals: Wild animals often leave their young alone during the day while foraging for food or to protect them from discovery by predators. If you come across a baby animal, do not move it unless clearly at risk or orphaned.

Trapped, sick or injured animals: Wild animals will fight to defend themselves when cornered and can carry parasites and diseases communicable to humans, such as rabies. Take no action that would endanger yourself and dial 911 to report an animal in distress.

Some tips for assessing wildlife emergencies.

Before making any attempt to intervene with any wild animal, consult a certified wildlife rehabilitation specialist, such as:

The PA Game Commission (southeast region office) may also be able to advise on wildlife emergencies.

If you need to board a pet

DelCART is only authorized to care for pets in a designated emergency shelter. We have no permanent facilities to house animals outside of a declared disaster.

Many private veterinary hospitals and practices, kennels, pet daycares and groomers in Delaware County offer overnight boarding at a range of prices.

Red Paw Emergency Relief Team may be able to help with boarding your pet if you are displaced from your home by a fire, flood, collapse or other household disaster.

PACT for Animals connects service personnel deploying overseas and patients facing extended hospitalization with longer term foster volunteers.

RedRover provides resources for those escaping domestic abuse with their pets.

We are currently unaware of boarding services for those temporarily displaced due to other personal circumstances (such as eviction or incarceration) but recommend contacting local rescues in your area who might be able to assist (foster space permitting).

If you need to rehome a pet

If you are facing the difficult decision of giving up your pet due to hardship, please consider reaching out to local animal organizations who may be able to assist with pet food and/or veterinary costs:

Arranging a private adoption yourself can be risky: the person responding to your ad could be a scammer, abuser or animal “flipper” (reselling pets they adopt online). It is always best to go through an animal shelter or reputable local rescue when rehoming a pet, as they have the resources to screen applicants, but there may be a waiting list (as well as a fee) involved.