NORTHBRIDGE, Mass. – Shrewsbury police officer John Pitro will be among those honored Sunday, Sept. 9, as a hero at the 14th annual Pet Rock Festival at Quinsigamond Community College, 670 Boylston Ave., Worcester, from noon to 5 p.m.
Pitro went above and beyond the line of duty to make an arrest after witnessing the cruelty of a dog owner who was arraigned in Westborough District Court on charges of animal cruelty and disorderly conduct.
Pet Rock Fest, organized by Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce President Jeannie Hebert, is the largest event of its kind in the northeast. It promotes kindness to animals and responsible pet ownership.
The festival is family-oriented and includes speakers, vegetarian food, live music, games, events, a raffle, vendors, and hundreds of area animal welfare organizations.
Dogs are welcome at the event, but for safety reasons, other pets must stay home, Hebert said.
The day will include exhibits from more than 150 breed rescues and shelters broadcasting their causes, live music, vendors, food, contests kiddie amusements, a rabies clinic sponsored by VCA Hospitals, doggie massages, agility course by Central New England Disaster Animal Response Team, amateur dog show (with categories such as “owner-dog look alike” and “best vocalist”), New England Frisbee Dog Group, adoptable pet parade with prizes for participating rescues, professional photos portraits of pets, cat photo contest and the popular doggie water park.
Special guest will be Animal Behaviorist Dr. Nicholas Dodman who will be answering questions and signing his book.
Musical headliners are American classic folk rockers the Jon Pousette-Dart Band.
Proceeds from the festival are distributed to New England-based animal welfare organizations, including shelters, anti-cruelty organizations and rescue leagues.
The Website www.petrockfest.org has become a general meeting place for concerned animal lovers to unite and share information and thoughts. “On this site, we post animal news, link to important animal related sites, update you on our upcoming festival and most importantly, provide a forum for folks to chat,” Hebert said.
Hebert asks animal lovers to get involved. “Learn more,” she said, “and remember, they can’t talk, so we will.’’
Admission is $13 for adults, $5 for children with $2 off coupons at local businesses and downloadable on the web.
Pet Rock is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization Donations are tax deductable.