County taking names of volunteers for animal shelter
“The main objective will be to enhance the adoptability of animals and that will be performed through grooming, animal exercise and socialization, which just means interacting with animals,” said Pete Heimbigner, of the county public works department.
Heimbigner told the Board of Supervisors at it’s Tuesday, Dec. 12 meeting, county employees must oversee volunteers.
“It’s not as simple as just putting together an application and having people sign up and bring them in the door,” he said.
The county would be liable for anyone injured by an animal or while working at the shelter. Heimbigner said those under 18 cannot volunteer because, legally, their parents cannot sign away minors’ rights to sue if they are injured.
Volunteers also add costs for supervisors and extra grooming supplies, which he said would not be a major expense.
“Some people have the perception that volunteers are free help,” he said. “They’re not. They take a certain amount of management.”
Supervision can be in-house or can be supplied by a volunteer coordinator. Heimbigner said he approached the Lassen Humane Society.
“They don’t think they have the resources to do that,” he said.
Public Works officials then decided the county can run the program in-house.
If he puts the program together in four to six weeks, the board will get a look at it during the first meeting of the new year on Jan. 9.
Heimbigner said the county has hired a second animal control specialist, former Susanville animal control officer Donna Hastie and Janet Romero accepted an additional kennel aid job that was offered the week of Friday, Dec. 8.
The volunteer program will include an orientation manual, other accessory program information, a volunteer application and waiver of liability.
“It might be taking away some of our resources from our animal control duties,” he said, but Heimbigner added, “there might be some wiggle room.”
The board approved a revised volunteer application at its Tuesday, Dec 19 meeting. Heimbigner said he got the application’s basic format from the National Humane Society.
It asks for basic address and contact information, a list of allergies, disabilities or limitations that may require accommodation, any experience with animals, previous volunteer work and why the applicant is interested in becoming a volunteer. It also asks if the volunteer has ever pled guilty to a traffic violation or been convicted of a criminal offense.
“Until we have all the programming in place for the volunteer program we won’t be able to implement it, but we can start developing a list and actually that will give us some feedback on how to scale the size of the program and move forward with it.”
Assistant County Counsel Traci Witry reviewed the form and approved it, he said.
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