Welcome to the Seattle Animal Shelter (SAS) Volunteer Program. We are grateful for your generosity and willingness to help SAS staff provide the animals that come under our care with the love and compassion they deserve.
SAS’ volunteer program policies were developed to ensure staff, volunteer and animal safety, and to provide everyone at the shelter with an enjoyable, rewarding and mutually beneficial experience. Please feel free to contact an SAS volunteer team lead or the Volunteer Coordinator if you have questions or want additional information regarding any of the information provided in this document.
A. Volunteer program agreement
1. SAS’ volunteer program utilizes Volgistics.com for logistics and communications purposes. All volunteers will maintain a volunteer account on Volgistics.com.
2. Due to safety and operational considerations, volunteers are required to receive critical shelter communications, such as “Important SAS Volunteer Updates,” by remaining on that particular Volgistics email list. Volunteers can unsubscribe from optional Volgistics communications, such as “Volunteer Program News,” “Help Needed” and other such informational pieces, as they wish.
3. Volunteers are responsible for reviewing volunteer program policies, waiver and their current role description(s) on an annual basis.
4. A shelter-issued foster care volunteer name tag must be worn while visiting the shelter.
1. The Seattle Animal Shelter strives to save every animal that comes into the shelter. SAS accepts all animals, regardless of their health, age, breed or temperament. Sadly, it is not always possible to re-home all animals. In some cases, euthanasia may be the most humane option for the animal. SAS considers euthanasia to be a last resort and our staff find it distressing, difficult and painful when no other alternative exists.
2. Though constructive volunteer insight is welcomed through the Volunteer Coordinator, SAS staff are solely responsible for making euthanasia-related decisions.
3. Euthanasia decisions can also be extremely upsetting for volunteers. If you have any concerns or questions regarding a euthanasia decision, please direct them to the Volunteer Coordinator.
4. Any postings on social media regarding euthanasia decisions, including in an SAS closed forum, are strictly prohibited.
C. Foster program
Foster volunteers are a critical part of the shelter’s animal care program. Their care and generosity saves hundreds of animals every year, and allow animals to remain comfortable, grow and/or heal before finding their permanent homes. On behalf of the animals, the SAS staff and your fellow volunteers, we sincerely thank you.
Protocols for all foster parents:
1. Notify your team lead (firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org) upon arriving home with a new foster animal, providing the animal number given to you.
2. Respond to any communications from your case manager (dog fosters only), team lead, potential adopters or staff within 24 hours.
3. Actively and regularly promote your adoptable foster animal. If your animal is not already on our website, post them as soon as they are available for adoption. If they are posted when you bring the animal home, redo their profile in a week’s time. Animal bios and photos are required to be updated monthly, at a minimum, though more frequently is highly preferred. Attendance at adoption events is highly encouraged, unless it’s an inappropriate environment for the animal.
4. House foster animals indoors, with prevention of escape routes.
5. Always supervise young children in the presence of the foster animal.
6. Follow the guidelines in the Foster Care Manual for seeking veterinary care. Most care is provided onsite with the exception of emergencies seen by our partner veterinary hospitals. Fees from unauthorized non-emergency vet visits, or visits to non-approved veterinary providers, will not be reimbursed. The shelter is not responsible for illness occurring in, or veterinary care required for, foster parents’ own animals. Practice good hygiene to avoid the spread of illness.
7. Follow all instructions for medications, medical care, medical and behavioral treatments, and behavior training plans provided to you as a foster parent. Attend and/or schedule required follow-up appointments in a timely manner. Approval of the Veterinary staff is required PRIOR to any changes in medical treatment plans and medication dosing. Approval of the Behaviorist is required PRIOR to any changes or deviations from the behavioral training plan.
8. Foster animal transfers to other foster homes must be approved by foster team members or shelter staff.
9. SAS maintains ownership of, and responsibility for, all animals in foster care. Foster parents must return the animal when requested.
10. Foster parents will not foster for other organizations simultaneously without prior approval.
11. Potential adopters are screened by staff and must meet certain criteria. Therefore, foster animals cannot be promised to family or friends.
12. Foster parents, who decide to adopt their foster animal, must do so in a timely manner. This is often when the animal becomes adoptable, although exceptions may be made as approved by the Animal Care Supervisor. Foster parents are required to complete an adoption application, and must be approved to adopt by staff.
13. Animals are not transferred to adopters until the adoption paperwork is complete, the adoption fees are paid, and the cat, dog or rabbit is spayed/neutered.
14. If an adopted foster animal is being returned by the owner, the animal should be returned to the shelter, rather than the foster parent’s home.
15. Although a foster animal may be adoptable when entering foster care, its behavior or medical status may change in time. If SAS deems an animal in foster care is not an adoption candidate, staff may reach the difficult decision to humanely euthanize. Please see Section D. for additional policies on euthanasia.
16. Special conditions apply when fostering a court case animal or any animal with an owner. The Animal Care Supervisor or any manager on duty the day of the animal pick-up will explain details in these situations.
Cat foster parents only:
1. Prior to fostering, foster parents must read the Foster Care Manual provided. For questions not covered in the manual, please email your team leads, email@example.com.
2. Foster cats should be quarantined from foster parents’ cats for 14 days, or in the case of ill cats, until all symptoms are resolved. It is recommended that foster cats not mix with resident cats at any time, to minimize risk.
3. Never allow an unrestrained dog near the foster cat unless the dog is extremely reliable.
4. Never use clumping litter for kittens under 6 months of age.
5. Ensure recommended or required vaccinations and dewormers are given on schedule.
6. Provide routine updates to your team leads.
7. Inform your team leads in the event of lethargy, loss of appetite, difficulty breathing, green nasal secretions, lack of weight gain in kittens, mouth breathing or other significant symptoms.
8. Any aggressive behavior or sudden changes in behavior must be reported to the team leads. Any bites that break the skin must be reported immediately to the Animal Care Supervisor.
9. Contact your team lead with the need to transfer or to find a sitter for your foster animal, or upon the death or escape of your animal.
Critter foster parents only:
1. For any questions, please email your team lead, firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Foster critters will be housed separately from resident pets. It is recommended that foster critters not mix with resident pets at any time, to minimize risk.
3. Only two adult foster critters or one litter of baby critters are to be fostered at a time. The team lead or shelter staff may waive this rule at their discretion.
4. In the event an animal is not able to be spayed or neutered, foster parents will do everything possible to prevent the critter from reproducing.
5. Never allow an unrestrained dog or cat near critters unless the dog or cat is extremely reliable.
6. Ensure recommended or required vaccinations and dewormers are given on schedule.
7. Provide routine updates to your team lead.
8. Inform your team lead in the event of extreme lethargy, loss of appetite, difficulty breathing, nasal secretions, difficulty eliminating, bloody urine or other significant symptoms.
9. Any aggressive behavior or sudden changes in behavior must be reported to the team lead. Any bites that break the skin must be reported immediately to the Animal Care Supervisor.
10. Contact your team lead with the need to transfer or to find a sitter for your foster animal, or upon the death or escape of your animal.
Dog foster parents only:
1. Prior to fostering, foster parents must read the Foster Care Manual provided. For questions not covered in the manual, please email your case manager, who will be assigned when you take an animal home.
2. Never take your foster dog to a dog park.
3. Foster dogs must always be leashed when outside, unless supervised in a securely fenced yard.
4. Provide routine updates to your case manager.
5. Ensure recommended or required vaccinations and dewormers are given on schedule.
6. Inform your case manager in the event of extreme lethargy, loss of appetite, bloody urine, difficulty
breathing, persistent coughing or other significant symptoms.
7. Any aggressive behavior or sudden changes in behavior must be reported to your case manager. Any bites that break the skin must be reported immediately to the Animal Care Supervisor.
8. Contact your case manager with the need to transfer or to find a sitter for your foster animal, or upon the death or escape of your animal.
When choosing to participate in the foster program, all foster parents must accept the following:
1. I understand that although SAS takes reasonable care to screen animals for foster care placement, it makes no guarantee relating to the animals' health, behavior or actions.
2. I understand that I receive foster care animals at my own risk and can reject or return any animals for which SAS has asked me to provide care.
3. I indemnify and hold SAS and the City of Seattle free and harmless from all liability arising out of any and all claims, demands, losses, damages, action, judgment of every kind and description which may occur to or be suffered by me, members of my household or any third parties by reason of activities arising out of this agreement.
4. I understand the importance of maintaining Seattle Animal Shelter (SAS) and City of Seattle confidential information, including but not limited to, personal information about licensees, adopters, donors, volunteers, business partners, other clients, and employee; plans, reports, financials, and any other third-party individuals or groups SAS transacts with. I agree that I will not divulge, disclose, provide, transfer onto my personal device, or disseminate, in any manner to any person or entity at any time, the confidential information as described above.
In cases where a volunteer commits violations of SAS’ policies including changing, stopping or failing to provide medical care or behavioral treatment plans as stated, failure to respond to communications or to produce the animal for evaluation in a timely manner, or otherwise not comply with staff requests , SAS management will verbally counsel them and provide an opportunity to comply moving forward. Continued violations of this nature could result in additional counseling or dismissal from the program. Serious violations – including failure to provide medical care or placing an animal in a situation that results in a life-threatening or terminal outcome, legal policy violations, animal abuse, abusive, threatening, harassing behavior to staff, volunteers or customers; possession of drugs or weapons; disclosure of confidential information; disregarding the guidelines surrounding postings on social media; or other actions of a serious nature – could result in immediate dismissal from the volunteer program.
E. WAIVER, RELEASE, ASSUMPTION OF RISK & INDEMNITY AGREEMENT
For and in consideration of my participation in the Seattle Animal Shelter Volunteer Program, a voluntary, public/private cooperative program, I agree as follows:
1. I know the nature of the Seattle Animal Shelter Volunteer Program and my experience and capabilities, and believe myself to be qualified to participate in the Seattle Animal Shelter Volunteer Program. I will inspect Seattle Animal Shelter Volunteer Program sites and will not proceed with volunteer work unless the site is safe to my satisfaction. I understand that there is some danger to my person and that I could – for a variety of known, unknown, foreseeable and unforeseeable reasons, including negligence of the City of Seattle and the employees and volunteers, officers and agents of that entity and/or persons – be seriously injured. In extreme cases, such injuries could include permanent disability, paralysis or even death (“risks”). Even understanding these risks, I consent to participation in the Seattle Animal Shelter Volunteer Program and assert that I am willing to participate in the Seattle Animal Shelter Volunteer Program.
2. I understand that the City currently provides supplemental medical insurance to volunteers that may provide me with coverage in excess of my own medical policy in the event I am injured while participating in the Seattle Animal Shelter Volunteer Program. I further understand that the City may terminate such supplemental coverage in the future.
3. I accept and assume all risks, and assume all responsibility for the losses, costs and/or damages following an injury I suffer in the course of my participation in the Seattle Animal Shelter Volunteer Program, including disability, paralysis or death, even if caused in whole or in part by the negligence of the following releasees: the City of Seattle, its employees, volunteers, officers and agents, and (collectively the “releasees”). My acceptance of risks includes releasing and agreeing not to sue the releasees. I also agree to indemnify and save and hold harmless the releasees and each of them from any and all litigation expenses, attorney fees, loss, liability, damage or cost they may incur due to a claim made against any of the releasees identified above based on an injury to me incurred within the course and scope of my participation in the Seattle Animal Shelter Volunteer Program.
4. I understand that the City of Seattle provides insurance for claims made against me as a result of my participation in the Seattle Animal Shelter Volunteer Program, provided that such claims are based on an act or omission in the course and scope of my volunteering as a part of the Seattle Animal Shelter Volunteer Program. I further agree that, to the extent I seek coverage from the City for any such claim, I will comply with the terms of SMC 4.64.100.
5. Upon signing, I give my permission to be photographed and/or filmed and have my image used by City of Seattle.
I have thoroughly read this liability waiver, release, assumption of the risk and indemnity agreement and understand by signing it I am giving up substantial rights I might otherwise have to damages for losses arising from my participation in the Seattle Animal Shelter volunteer program. I am signing freely, voluntarily and without inducement.
I understand and agree that submitting this application form does not automatically register me as a Seattle Animal Shelter volunteer, and that there may be certain qualifications I must meet, including the acceptance of established volunteer policies and procedures to continue volunteering.
By submitting this form, I attest that the information I have provided on the form is true and accurate.