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Sacramento animal shelter pleading for volunteers

As Sacramento's Front Street Animal Shelter fills up, volunteer and staffing levels continue to decrease potentially leading to less adoptions.
Credit: KXTV

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Sacramento's Front Street Animal Shelter is asking the public to volunteer at its shelter after seeing a significant cut in both staffing and volunteers. 

The shelter took to Facebook Thursday hoping to inspire people to sign up and volunteer.

"Our shelter is in a bad place," reads the post. "We barely have enough time to keep up with cleaning, feeding, intake and other essential functions."

According to Front Street Animal Shelter's website, there are now only about four kennel staff members each day, responsible for pre-adoption jobs such as "feed, medicate, intake, do adoptions, and much more." The deficit of volunteers has reduced the usual animal care staff by 50%.

Adoption counseling sessions can take up to 30 minutes per staff member or volunteer, limiting the amount of dogs the shelter can give to adopters each day. The Front Street Animal Shelter has 54 adoptable dogs in their care, according to their website Friday afternoon.

Officials with Front Street Animal Shelter say there is not one specific reason why volunteer and staffing levels are low, but point to volunteer and staff scarcity plaguing other shelters as well.

"We're hearing from a number of shelters in California that they are also dealing with staff shortages" Ryan Hinderman, Front Street Animal Shelter spokesperson, said.

He speculates that an increase in other open positions both in the animal care and veterinary fields may be leading to the shortage of volunteers.

"In our larger community, we're seeing a lot of job openings in the industry in the city alone" Hinderman said, adding many veterinary hospitals are at capacity, potentially taking people from their pool of volunteers and staffers. "We have staffing to do adoptions, but we are not able to do as many as we'd like so our shelter is getting quite full."

"To keep up with adoptions, we are in huge need of dog-savvy volunteers to help members of the public meet and take home their new family members" the shelter said in the Facebook post. 

Those interested in volunteering at Front Street Animal Shelter are asked to fill out a form online. Children ages 12-16 may be eligible to volunteer with adult supervision. While there are no qualifications to be a volunteer, the form to sign up outlines daily tasks and asks applicants if they are able to handle the duties. 

Hinderman says volunteers "should be comfortable and have experience with large, high-energy dogs and should enjoy customer service and working with people."

Shelter volunteers are required to volunteer weekly for at least one 2.5 hour shift.

The shelter hopes to fill their volunteer vacancies soon with a training session for new volunteers scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 5. 

Front Street Animal Shelter is also slated to begin allowing weekend walk-in adoptions starting Dec. 11. 

"We can’t do it without volunteer support" said the shelter on Facebook.

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