Volunteer Policies & Procedures

Volunteers play a key role in our ability to care for the animals and serve the public. Once trained, volunteers become a vital part of the team. You work side-by-side with staff and other volunteers. Your commitment to the position you fill is vital to our success.

Volunteers are required to observe the following:

  • Report to your department on time and complete your shift. If you must report late or leave early, make prior arrangements with your supervisor so that a substitute can be found.
  • If you are sick, cannot work, or wish to make changes in your schedule, please contact your supervisor as far in advance as possible so that a substitute can be scheduled.
  • Failure to report for your shift without prior contact or arrangements may result in your being removed from the schedule. Failure to report for your shift on a regular basis, even with prior contact, may also result in being removed from the schedule.

Dress Code

When volunteering at Mairn Humane, volunteers are asked to follow the dress code set for all staff and volunteers, especially those handling animals:

  • Please wear close-toed flat shoes (athletic shoes are good) – no sandals
  • No shorts or short skirts
  • No sleeveless or tank tops
  • Avoid wearing jewelry in which an animal could get caught
  • No fragrances (perfumes or cologne)
  • Always wear your volunteer name badge when you are working
  • Remember, your appearance and conduct reflects directly on the Society

In addition to the dress code, please observe the following:

  • Always wash your hands before touching each animal and before leaving the shelter. This helps prevent the spread of viruses. Hand sanitizer stations are set up all around the Marin Humane campus.
  • Do not bring personal food into areas with animals.
  • Do not use cell phones or PDAs while on the job.
  • Please do not bring guests or visitors with you while you volunteer.
  • Smoking is restricted to an outside area behind the main shelter.
  • Do not smoke around the animals.
  • Volunteers and staff must park in the area behind the shelter or over the bridge. Parking in the front lot is for the public. Please contact the Director of Volunteer Services for special permission to park in the front lot.
  • Please do not leave any animals in your car while you are working your volunteer shift.

Always keep in mind that shelter animals do not know you. They come from a variety of backgrounds and it is difficult to predict their behavior in an unfamiliar place. A calm and quiet demeanor around the animals helps them feel relaxed and less anxious.

Immediately report any injury you receive to your supervisor. They will direct you to the proper forms to fill out to document the injury. Volunteers are not covered under our Worker’s Compensation Insurance. Marin Humane provides secondary accident insurance coverage for volunteers to cover out-of-pocket medical expenses due to an injury incurred while volunteering.

If you decide to leave the volunteer program, please contact your supervisor and the Director of Volunteer Services. If possible, please give advance notice of two weeks or more if you plan to leave your position. That allows us time to fill your position. We encourage you to give us your feedback about your volunteer experience upon leaving your job.

Some staff are authorized to bring their dogs to work; however, please consult your supervisor for prior approval before bringing your pet to the shelter. You may not bring a companion animal to Marin Humane and leave it in your car while volunteering.

If you have any problems working with staff, or with your work responsibilities, please discuss them with your supervisor. If the problems continue, please bring them to the attention of the Director of Volunteer Services. It is important that we quickly resolve problems that arise so that we can work effectively as a team.

Should unresolvable problems arise, a volunteer may be relieved of his/ her duties.

Keep your involvement with the organization confined to the responsibilities of your job. It may be difficult to keep from getting involved in all that is going on around you. Remember, Marin Humane has trained staff to handle office, kennel, and animal services issues. Consult your supervisor for guidance and support if you are faced with a situation that is not part of your job. When in doubt, consult with the Director of Volunteer Services.

All volunteers must work 3 months before adopting an animal from MHS. This policy is designed to avoid the “taking them all home” syndrome. We encourage new volunteers to spend the first few months of their volunteer experience getting to know staff and other volunteers, learning the duties of their new position and becoming familiar with the policies, procedures and culture of Marin Humane. After 3 months, if you are interested in adopting an animal, please consult with the Adoption Program Coordinator. You will be guided through our regular adoption process, which includes approval by the Adoption Supervisor. Volunteers do not receive a discount on the adoption fee.

For information regarding personal pets participating in Marin Humane’s programs or accompanying volunteers, please speak with the Director of Volunteer Services.

Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Marin Humane will not tolerate the use of alcohol or drugs in the workplace. Use of these substances can adversely affect a volun­teer’s performance and judgment, compromising the welfare and safety of others.

Open Door Shelter

Marin Humane is an “open door” shelter. We make every effort to ensure that healthy, adoptable animals are made available for adoption. We do not euthanize animals due lack of space. Adoptable animals are not given a time limit for adoption. At the same time, we have the responsibility to ensure that we do not place dangerous animals in our community and that no animal suffers from a medical condition that goes beyond our ability to provide treatment. We are fortunate to treat many medical conditions using our Veterinary Clinic. Animals with treatable medical conditions are euthanized in many other shelters due to lack of resources. We are also fortunate to have a nationally renowned behavior and training staff who work on behavior modification for adoption animals. Despite our best efforts, we are faced with making decisions about euthanasia here at the shelter. They are difficult decisions, made by a team of staff from various areas of shelter operations. We make sure to exhaust all resources before making the decision to humanely end an animal’s life.

Volunteers are not asked to witness or assist in euthanasia here at the shelter. We answer questions about euthanasia honestly and with compassion. As a volunteer at Marin Humane, we want you to trust and support these types of decisions we make. Any questions or concerns about our euthanasia policy may be addressed to your direct supervisor or the Director of Volunteer Services.