Nominate Heroes for 2014

6390104237_7a2ca46be0_bPet Rock Fest is presently accepting nominations for its animal hero awards for Pet Rock 2014, Sept. 7 at the Sturbridge Host Hotel in Sturbridge, MA.

Let us know about someone who has worked tirelessly for the protection and welfare of animals, or someone who has performed an act of pure kindness to save or protect an animals. There are all kinds, and each year, Pet Rock Fest acknowledges these wonderful people with the Pet Rock Hero Award.

Past recipients have included police officers, rescue group leaders and fire departments, as well as individuals who simply took it upon themselves to follow through with an act of kindness to help an animals, or many animals.

Send your nominations to petrockfest@gmail.com with “2014 Hero Nomination” in the subject heading.

Department of Agricultural Resources Distributes First Spay/Neuter Vouchers for Homeless Dogs and Cats in Massachusetts

doggieBOSTON – Friday, July 11, 2014 – The Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR) today distributed the first vouchers from the Massachusetts Animal Fund’s Spay/Neuter Program, which offers free spay/neuter surgery and rabies vaccinations to homeless dogs and cats, as well as dogs and cats owned by low-income families in Massachusetts.

“While there are many dogs and cats across the Commonwealth in loving homes, there are many who live in unsafe conditions on their own,” said DAR Commissioner Greg Watson. “The Spay/Neuter Program is an important part in improving the lives of these animals and making our communities safer.”

The Massachusetts Animal Fund has partnered with municipal animal control officers to identify the state’s most vulnerable animals, and veterinary practices that are committed to providing surgery and vaccination at a reduced rate. Animal homelessness poses a public safety concern and costs taxpayers money for services dealing with stray, abandoned and feral animals and their offspring.

Since 2013, the Massachusetts Animal Fund has raised $434,000 solely through a voluntary tax check-off on Line 32f of the Massachusetts resident income tax form to help with their efforts end animal homelessness in the Commonwealth. Residents are now able to make direct online donations at https://www.paybill.com/massanimalfund. DAR and the Massachusetts Animal Fund encourage residents of the Commonwealth to invest in the responsible care of animals.

North Shore Animal Hospital was the first veterinary practice to sign up as a Spay/Neuter provider. They are also one of the first recipients of a voucher, which will be used on a small, male, mixed-breed stray dog who was found in Chelsea, brought to their shelter on June 4, and will available for adoption after the procedure.

“Until now, shelters have had no regular guaranteed source of funding for stray animals and must rely on donations and support from local veterinarians,” said Lauren Lacey of North Shore Animal Hospital. “The Massachusetts Animal Fund Spay/Neuter Voucher Program will allow people to provide their pets with needed veterinary care. This assistance program will help so many animals have happy and healthy lives.”

The second voucher was requested by Coral Hope, the animal control officer for the city of Melrose, for a homeless female dog. Her spay surgery will also be performed at North Shore Animal Hospital before she is made available for adoption.

Residents with demonstrated financial need interested in receiving a no-cost voucher from the Spay/Neuter Voucher Program should contact their municipal animal control officer to request assistance. Municipal animal control facilities interested in receiving a no-cost voucher for a homeless animal in their care should contact Lauren Gilfeather at lauren.gilfeather@state.ma.us.

The Massachusetts Animal Fund, administered by DAR with assistance from an advisory committee, was established by Chapter 193 of the Acts of 2012 to respond the problem of animal homelessness. Residents can make direct online donations at https://www.paybill.com/massanimalfund.

Pet Rock Fest Continues Message of Kindness to Animals at a New Venue

536551_333668903348640_1350229506_nPet Rock Fest, The 16th Annual, Moves to Sturbridge, MA

Pet Rock Fest, the largest animal benefit of its kind in New England, is celebrating more than 15 years of helping animals. And also a big move.

The festival, happening on Sunday, Sept. 7, from noon to 5 p.m., moves to the Sturbridge Host Hotel,  366 Main St., Sturbridge.

“While Quinsigamond Community College has been our home for more than ten years, and served us well, circumstances and new regulations pushed us to look for a new place,” said founding partner Charlene Arsenault. “The key is to bring in proceeds to help charities, and that will continue to be the point. The Sturbridge Host is a wonderful spot, right on a lake, and offers amenities that will provide advantages we have not had in the past. They are giving us a huge welcome, and are very accommodating. We hope our longtime partners and fans will ease into the move right along with us.”

Pet Rock Fest features live music (bands to be announced later this summer), a vegetarian food court, games for kids, contests for dogs, a cat photo contest, photos with your pets, doggie massages, a doggie water park, demonstrations, exhibits, vendors and, most importantly, hundreds of nonprofit groups devoted to animal welfare causes. All 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. It is important to remember that Pet Rock Fest benefits all animals – not just pets.

“While we were not entirely prepared to move the Pet Rock Festival from the established venue at QCC, the offer from the Sturbridge Host Hotel and Conference Center to hold the festival at their beautiful site has actually become an opportunity  to reach out to a new and more diverse audience, expand our activities and offer assistance to more animal organizations,” said founding partner Jeannie Hebert. “That, of course, is always our mission. The Host’s General Manager, Russ Prentiss, and Sales Manager Connie Pion, are both long time friends and animal lovers and have extended us a warm welcome. We are working with them to produce some new activities. This is going to be an exciting Pet Rock Festival. Don’t miss it!”

Not only will Pet Rock Fest still offer the same favorites, such as the vegetarian food court, Frisbee dogs, agility course, adoptable pet parade, dog contest and cat contest, but the new venue offers some new options, including Pet Rock Beach, where your dog can take a dip in the lake. Yes, you heard it right. Your dog can go swimming!

The Sturbridge Host Hotel is conveniently located right off of the Massachusetts Turnpike, and offers plenty of parking. It is also a dog friendly hotel, and attendees will be offered special rates to stay at the hotel.

Much more information is coming. Pass along the word and plan to attend Pet Rock Fest.

Nonprofits, potential sponsors and vendors should email petrockfest@gmail.com for more information.

Anyone wishing to volunteer should email David Russell at petrockdave@gmail.com.

For updates on the plans for the day, groups signed up to attend, and other official or not so official news, visit petrockfest.org or check us out on Facebook at  https://www.facebook.com/petrockfest and on Twitter @Petrockfestival.

Celebrating more than 15 years, Pet Rock Fest is the largest event of its kind in the Northeast, an annual festival that promotes kindness to animals and responsible pet ownership. Pet Rock Fest, held in September each year, is a family festival that features guest speakers, vegetarian food, live music, games, events, a raffle, vendors, and hundreds of area animal welfare organizations. Pet Rock is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization. Donations are tax deductible.

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If you’d like more information, visit www.petrockfest.org.