Community Animal Response Team (CART)

Our vision is a community prepared to support animals in a disaster.

CART provides professional preparedness response and recovery, resources and community education to ensure the health and welfare of animals before, during and after a disaster. Animals cannot be considered independently of response issues associated with human populations. Animal owners can put themselves and first responders at risk when they take risks in order to save their animals. Animal response issues exist anytime a disaster affects a community. Whether planned for or not, they must be addressed during a response.

When called upon by the City of Colorado Springs, and El Paso County officials, the CART team will respond to the needs of animals in our community. During the Black Forest Fire, our team worked tirelessly to shelter and care for 1200 animals in need. CART members are trained to perform animal (companion and livestock) sheltering operations during emergencies and disasters. Members are trained in animal handling and animal sheltering operations, documenting animal intake, providing care, and reuniting animals with their owners.

Volunteers must be willing to complete numerous training sessions and attend events in order to become a certified CART member. Most trainings and events are conducted during weekends or evenings.

CART needs trained volunteers who can help in an emergency.  Members must commit to ongoing training to ensure they can respond quickly as a team during an event. 

Requirements for becoming a certified CART member are as follows:

  1. Submit a volunteer application.
  2. Volunteers are required to pay a one-time fee of $20 per adult. This offsets the cost of your criminal background check and nametag. Please understand your volunteer fee is non-refundable and will be considered a contribution to the shelter should you decide to forego volunteering as part of the CART team. Once you have submitted your application, you will receive further instructions.

    HSPPR does not accept volunteers with a criminal record in relation to (1) any felony, (2) sexual or violent crimes, (3) theft-related crimes or (4) animal neglect or cruelty within the last 7 years. HSPPR requires all persons applying to volunteer to state any past criminal record and reserves the right to conduct a background check on any volunteer.
  3. Once you have completed the above steps, we will schedule you to attend a basic team orientation and training. This includes companion animal orientation, livestock orientation, and review of our CART standard operating procedures.
  4. Complete the following FEMA classes online:

CART members are expected to attend monthly meetings, participate in required ongoing training and take part in annual exercises to remain prepared for deployment. We strongly recommend all members gain first-hand experience in animal care and handling by volunteering at a local animal shelter, equestrian center or boarding facility.