We are experiencing a higher-than-normal interest in volunteering and it may take longer to process your Volunteer Application. Thank you for your patience and we look forward to welcoming you to the VCAS Family, soon!
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.
Although volunteers have the opportunity to play with puppies and kittens, volunteering also means getting your hands dirty (doing laundry, sorting donations), helping staff, and the public. Some volunteer tasks may be physically demanding, but we also need individuals to help with clerical work and media. No matter what your abilities are, there is something for you at Ventura County Animal Services!
- Minimum age for volunteers is 13.
- Volunteers under 18 years of age must hav permission form a parent or legal guardian.
- Volunteers 13-15 must apply with an adult partner volunteer they will train and work with at all times. Both partners must submit an application.’
- 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.
General Volunteer Tasks:
Assembling Adoption Packets
Greeting the Public
New Volunteer Process:
- Tap/click here to submit an online application. This application includes electronic signature/verification of the Volunteer Agreement, Release of Liability and Waiver, and Code of Conduct.
- Watch a general volunteer orientation session online. The link to the Orientation is on the volunteer application. Viewing this orientation is mandatory before starting your on-site training.
- After submitting the application, you will receive an email with a link to your VCAS volunteer 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 enjoyable, but is only one part of volunteering. 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.
What to Expect at First Day Training:
At First Day Training, you’ll get a tour of the facility, and a hands-on introduction to Shelter Support Tasks. Please wear long pants and closed-toed shoes to your First Day Training, and to all your future volunteer shifts. Volunteer t-shirts will be available for purchase. If you are unable to purchase a t-shirt prior to your first, day, blue volunteer aprons are available to borrow.
- Short Sleeve T-Shirt: $10
- Long Sleeve T-Shirt: $15
Volunteer hour requirements:
We do not have a monthly minimum requirement for most volunteer jobs. Exceptions are the Bunny Brigade or Vet Office Assistance, which do ask for a regular weekly commitment of two hours minimum (understanding that you’ll need to make adjustments occasionally for vacations, illness, etc). Once you complete First Day Training, we require that you come in a minimum of one time to do a two hour (or longer) shift of Shelter Support Tasks. You do not need to sign up for this shift, just come in any time that works for your schedule. Not only will this be helpful to us and the animals in our care, but it will help you learn how we work so you can be a more successful volunteer and have a bigger impact. After you have completed at least one Shelter Support shift, you can sign up for training to work more directly with the animals. If you have no volunteer hours for six months, you will be made ‘inactive’ and may need to complete refresher training when you return.
Frequently Asked Volunteer Questions
Community Service Hours must be completed with Shelter Support Tasks. If you would like to continue to volunteer once you achieve your hours, we will be very happy to train you to work hands-on with the animals!
Court-Mandated Hours: At this time we have limited capacity for those seeking community service hours. Please email our Volunteer Coordinator at to learn if we are able to accommodate.
School/Employee: If you are seeking community service hours for school, an organization, or personal satisfaction, please follow the steps above for becoming a VCAS volunteer. You will be responsible for any and all tracking documentation, including documenting 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 a letter written on official VCAS letterhead, please email the Volunteer Coordinator before beginning your service.
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 email@example.com.
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.
You may watch the Volunteer Orientation video online 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 deactivated and you will need to re-apply.
Kind of! Volunteer dog walkers are also asked to help with other shelter duties, such as doing laundry, sorting donations, stocking shelves, etc. Those interested in walking dogs must complete our training program. You will receive instructions on how to become a VCAS dog walker when you attend your First Day Training.
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.
Yes. But due to safety concerns, group volunteering opportunities are limited to project-based activities and not activities involving the handling of animals. Please contact our Volunteer Coordinator to set up a Group Volunteering service day. firstname.lastname@example.org.
VCAS depends on the generosity of our community. We encourage groups to set up fundraising drives in place of a service day as we are always in need of funds to help support our live-saving activities.