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Become a volunteer for LA Animal Services!
We are looking for volunteers who want to make a difference in the lives of abandoned and orphaned animals in our care. We need friendly, outgoing and personable volunteers to assist the public and work with the staff in our animal shelters and at on-site and off-site adoption events.
Our dogs, cats, rabbits, and other animals are in need of care, attention, walking, playing, socialization and engaging with people in order to help them find homes to go to. You may choose to work with any or all of our animal populations. Volunteers are also needed to assist with other important roles such as: adoptions, kennels, greeting customers, photography, videography, playgroups, grooming, humane education, public relations and some office tasks.
Volunteer opportunities are available during our business hours; Tuesday to Saturday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. and Sunday, 11:00 am to 5:00 pm. Shelters are closed on Mondays and on holidays.
Already a volunteer? Visit our Volunteer Information Center!
- Apply online today!
– Online Volunteer Application (Adults)
– Online Volunteer Application (Minors)
- Once your application receives preliminary approval, you’ll be invited to register for an upcoming volunteer orientation. Volunteer Orientation.
- After the orientation, your application will go through one more approval process.
- If your application is approved, you can expect a welcome email within two weeks of attending orientation.
- New volunteers will receive training in animal handling for dogs, cats, rabbits, or all three!
Join us and start making a difference! LA Animal Services recognizes the contributions made by volunteers and is committed to providing a volunteer program that offers challenging opportunities where volunteers can make a difference in the lives of the animals LA Animal Services cares for.
If you have any questions, please contact the LA Animal Services Volunteer Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 213-395-1163.
How to Get Started
2. LEARN: Attend a group orientation at the Service Center where you want to volunteer. You will meet your Volunteer Liaison, who will tell you all about the services we offer, the rules for volunteering and the many ways volunteers can help the animals in our care. There are six orientations each month, and they last approximately two hours. We encourage you to attend the orientation at your most local center, but if that doesn’t work with your schedule, you are welcome to attend any of them.
Upcoming Volunteer Orientation Schedule TBD
3. TRAIN: After your orientation, your application will go through a final approval process, and if it is approved, your Liaison will contact you to invite you to First Day Training, where you’ll get a tour of the facility. After this, you will learn how to handle the animals you’d like to work with – dogs or cats or rabbits (or all of them, if you want!)
4. VOLUNTEER! Once you have completed your training on animal handling, you’ll be able to come in according to your own availability, any time during public hours (Tuesday–Saturday 8 am – 5 pm and Sunday 11 am – 5pm)
Volunteers make a big difference for the animals who stay with us. Staff usually have their hands full attending to the basic care of the many animals in residence, and so volunteers are the ones who get to give the animals extra attention. Volunteers walk the dogs, play with the cats, cuddle the bunnies, and generally help the animals know, in the midst of what can be a confusing and scary experience, that humans can be nice and caring.
- Like to move?
Walk dogs, bathe dogs, clean their kennels, help with multi-dog playgroups.
- Like to comfort?
Pet and comfort dogs, cats and rabbits, put bedding into kennels and cages.
- Like to read?
Reading to animals, especially shy or scared animals, is very comforting. And as a bonus, you get your homework done for school or book club!
- Like computers?
Every Service Center has a social media presence that is run by volunteers and tech-savvy help is always appreciated to keep pages updated.
- Like to create?
Photograph animals, write about them and share them online.
- Like people?
One of the most important tasks volunteers help with is introducing adoptable animals to the public. You’ll give the potential adopter a chance to spend time with the animal and learn more about the animal’s personality. You’ll also share tips you’ve learned about how to be a good pet parent. You’ll help people make good decisions about adopting. Another people-person job is greeting visitors in the lobby and directing them where to go.
- Like to move?
We ask that volunteers commit to a minimum of six hours a month for six months. Any volunteer who has been inactive for six months will be required to go through the orientation and training process again. We currently accept volunteers aged 12 and older.
We ask a minimum of six hours of service a month for six months. Any volunteer who has been inactive for six months will be required to go through the orientation and training process again.
We currently accept volunteers aged 12 and older. If you are 12, 13, 14 or 15, you need to find an adult sponsor volunteer and the two of you will volunteer at all times together as a team. This adult sponsor does not need to be a parent or guardian, but they need to be approved by your parent or guardian and all three of you are required to attend orientation together. If you are 16-17, a parent or legal guardian must attend the orientation with you and then you can volunteer independently. (Due to limited seating, only one parent/guardian will be allowed. No siblings please).
Attending a Volunteer Orientation is mandatory. At orientation you will learn about our LA Animal Services programs, about our policies and procedures, you will learn about basic animal behavior, and gain an understanding of the many ways you can make a difference and ultimately help find homes for the animals in our shelters. Please note, seating and parking are limited. We recommend arriving early. Orientation starts promptly at the posted time, and no one will be admitted after the orientation has begun.
- For orientation dates, times and locations please see our Upcoming Volunteer Orientation Schedule when it becomes available or visit our volunteer Facebook page.
- Photo ID: You will need to present a photo ID at orientation (driver’s license, identification card, passport or student ID card)
- A completed application. Please download the Volunteer Application or Apply Online (Adult Volunteer Application, Minor Volunteer Application). If you do not have access to a printer, you can pick up a volunteer application at any one of our six animal services centers or ask for one at the time of orientation.
- If you are a student seeking community service hours, please note that we require a minimum commitment of 30 hours of volunteer service, aside from training, before we will sign off on your hours.
Is your club or business looking for a chance to give back? We can tailor an experience just for you, to complete a group project and of course spend a little time with our animals. To make arrangements, contact Director of Volunteer Programs Carolyn Almos at Carolyn.Almos@lacity.org.
Student Service Hours
Need hours for school? Check out the ‘How to Get Started” tab, because you’ll need to go through the regular volunteer orientation process. Your Liaison will sign off on your community service hours once you complete them. We ask for a minimum of thirty hours of service, after training is complete.
Not enough time?
We appreciate that many people would like to make a difference in the lives of orphaned and abandoned animals, but may not have the time to commit to volunteering. There are other ways to help!
- Foster a dog or cat. Don’t have time to come in, but have some space in your home and heart? Consider fostering! A little time in a home is a great break from shelter stress, and some fosters get adopted when friends and family see how great they are. If your friends and neighbors somehow resist adopting your foster, don’t worry – the animal will return to us with lot of information about how they behave in a home, and that makes them more adoptable. Print and bring your completed Foster Application and photo ID to your nearest LA City Animal Services Center.
- Make a donation.The Department of Animal Services has three funds that accept individual gifts, donations, and bequests: Animal Welfare Trust Fund, Spay/Neuter Trust Fund, and The Star Program.
- Donate items directly to our centers. We are always in need of donations and we are so grateful for the support of our LA community.
- Spread the word! Follow us and our volunteer-run social media threads and share our adoptable animals.