Volunteer

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UPDATE:  Due to COVID-19, we are not accepting new volunteer applicants. 

Current Volunteers sign in here.

Volunteers are 100% essential to our live-saving efforts!  They are the lifeblood of dozens of shelter programs and they have enhanced every department at Ventura County Animal Services with their dedication and compassion.  Without volunteer support we could not function the way we do.

Volunteers are involved in almost every aspect of our organization, from daily animal care and medical support to marketing and fundraising, they do it all!  Some volunteer  individually, while others arrive as couples/friends/groups.  We recommend getting to know fellow volunteers and coordinating times to come and Volunteer.  Those who volunteer together, tend to volunteer more often, and for a longer time.

General Requirements:

  • Must be 18 years or older.
  • Must treat animals and humans with kindness.
  • Must like people, be approachable and be a team player.
  • Must work well with a variety of personalities.
  • Must be able to accept direction.
  • Must be adaptive to changing guidelines and protocols.
  • Must adhere to VCAS Volunteer Policies and Code of Conduct.

What it’s like to volunteer:

The reality of volunteering may differ than what you might expect.  Though volunteers do get to play with puppies and cuddle kittens, volunteering also means doing laundry, sorting donations and helping the public.  Some volunteer tasks may be physically challenging but we also need individuals to help with clerical work and photography. No matter your abilities, there is something for you.

List of Possible Volunteer Tasks:

Animal Enrichment
Answering Questions
Assembling Adoption Packets
Assisting Officers
Creating Graphics
Event Planning
Feeding Animals
Giving Tours
Greeter
Hosing Kennels
Laundry
Marketing Animals
Mucking Stalls
Photography
Sorting Donations
Supply Organizer
Transporting Animals
Veterinary Assistance
Videography

Start the Process:

  • Submit an online application. Includes electronic signature/verification of the Volunteer Agreement, Release of Liability and Waiver.
  • Complete a general volunteer orientation session online.
  • After submitting the application, you will receive an email with a link to yourVicNet portal where you will sign up for your First Day Training Shift and/or complete training videos online to get started with Shelter Support Tasks right away.
  • Working directly with animals is only one part of volunteering at VCAS. If you are interested in training to handle dogs, cats, or rabbits, you must meet the essential capabilities of volunteers requirements and attend additional training sessions as required.

Volunteer Orientation

Completing a general volunteer orientation is mandatory before you can volunteer at VCAS. Orientation will cover the goals and policies of the organization, as well as explaining volunteer opportunities.  VCAS volunteer t-shirts are available for purchase at your First Day Training Shift or through our front office. If you do not wish to purchase a t-shirt, blue volunteer aprons are available to borrow for the day. 

  • Short Sleeve T-Shirt: $10
  • Long Sleeve T-Shirt: $15

Ongoing requirements for volunteering:

Essential Shelter Support Dog Handling Cat Handling Rabbit Handling
Minimum Number of Hours Suggested Per Month No Minimum. 8 hours/month 4 hours/month 4 hours/month
There is no minimum hourly commitment for Essential Shelter Support Tasks. We ask, however, that all volunteers who handle dogs, commit to at least eight (8) hours of service per month. Doing so will keep you updated on new protocols and handling techniques. Those interested in handling cats or rabbits should commit to at least four (4) hours per month. Volunteers who have not volunteered within a year may be asked to attend a refresher orientation. If life events occur and you are unable to volunteer for some time, simply let us know so we don’t worry.
We require all volunteers to adhere to the VCAS Volunteer Policies.

What should I do if I need to fulfill community service hours?

Court-Mandated Hours: At this time, we have limited capacity for those seeking community service hours for a pending or completed court case.  Please email our Volunteer Coordinator at VCAR.volunteer@ventura.org to find out if we can accommodate!

School/Employe: :  If you are seeking community service hours for school, an organization, or personal pleasure, please follow the steps above for becoming a VCAS volunteer.  You will be responsible for any and all documentation, including tracking your volunteer hours on your own time sheet if required by your organization/school.  You may request that a VCAS supervisor initial your time sheet at the end of your volunteer commitment.  If you require other documentation of your volunteer hours including VCAS letterhead, please contact vcar.volunteer@ventura.org before beginning your service.

I’m having problems with the volunteer application. Can I get help?

A common reason that an application fails to submit is if required fields are left blank. All items with a red asterisk must be completed.  If you don’t receive your welcome email after completing the application, please check your spam/junk mail folder and adjust your email settings to allow email from Ventura County Animal Services.

If you continue to have problems submitting your application or finding the email about getting started, please email vcar.volunteer@ventura.org.

I completed the online application, now what?

Shortly after submitting the online application, you will receive an email prompting you to sign up for your first shift. This is a very important email, as it contains a link to the volunteer portal, our volunteer handbook, and pertinent details relating to your first shift. Please see the question above if you are having trouble with the application or the confirmation email.

Our orientation is online. You may watch the orientation video at your convenience. Once you submit your application, you will have 90 days to begin Volunteering. If you do not log any volunteer hours during this time, your account will be deleted, and you will need to re-apply. 

Can I just come walk dogs?

Sorry.  Only trained VCAS Dog walking volunteers may walk dogs.  You will receive instructions on how to become a VCAS dog walker when you attend your first shift.

I attended an orientation, now what?

Log into your account at VICNET to look for volunteer opportunities. At any time, whether a week or a year after orientation, you may email vcar.volunteer@ventura.org for information, direction, or other assistance related to VCAS volunteering.

I want to take a dog for a walk/run/hike offsite, do I need to be trained to do that?

Yes. Our “Hound on the Town” program allows you to check a dog out for a few hours or the day. Only approved dogs are permitted out on field trips and you must first attend a Foster Orientation online, and schedule a matchmaking appointment at www.vcas.us/foster. If you would like to be able to choose your own hiking buddy on your own schedule, you must complete a Dog Handling Training as a VCAS Volunteer.

Can my group set up a service day?

Due to safety concerns for both people and pets, one-time Group Volunteering opportunities are limited project-based activities and not activities involving the handling of animals. Please contact our Volunteer Coordinator to set up a Group Volunteering service day.  vcar.volunteer@ventura.org.

VCAS depends on the generosity of our community. We encourage groups to set up a fundraising drive in place of a service day as we are always in need of funds to help support our operations and are limited in our capacity to host groups.

Volunteer Coordinator
vcar.volunteer@ventura.org
(805) 388-4320