Volunteer at the Animal Shelter

Volunteers must be at least 18 years old and be able to volunteer a minimum of 10 hours a month. We ask that volunteers commit to staying with the shelter for at least a year.

Why Volunteers Are Needed

Hayward Animal Services handles an average of 3000 animals per year, and not just dogs and cats. We handle exotic animals, livestock and wildlife. It is an immense job to care for and place so many animals. With all of us working together, we are able to adopt out, reunite with their guardians, or transfer to Rescue thousands of pets each year. Animal Services is staffed by a team of employees, performing a variety of services, seven days a week. We cannot possibly do the kind of job we would like to do without your volunteer help. Our animal care attendants work hard to keep the animals in our care well fed, healthy and clean, as well as helping the public with adoptions and redemptions. They also give the animals a pat here, and a kind word there, as they pursue their duties. Nevertheless, to be happy, animals need more exercise, enrichment, and affection than the staff can usually supply. We have seen that clean, calm and groomed animals have the best chance of getting adopted. Volunteers play a major role helping as exercisers, socializers and groomers.

Besides helping animals, Animal Services helps animal guardians. Volunteers assist visitors at the Shelter and help reunite pets and guardians. These jobs are important in meeting the Shelter’s goals for animal welfare and community protection.

Here are just some of the volunteer opportunities available at the Hayward Animal Shelter:

  • Socializing and playing with dogs, cats, rabbits, etc.
  • Dog walking
  • Kennel Assistant - Clean up, feeding animals, do laundry, wash dishes
  • Animal Grooming
  • Pet adoption outreach
  • Community special events
  • Social Media Guru
  • Photographer and Videographer
  • Front Office assistant

Application and Placement

We operate on the principle that everyone will be happiest if volunteers are placed in jobs that are best suited for them. Each potential volunteer attends or virtually views an information session to learn more about our volunteer program and opportunities. This is a time to meet other potential volunteers and to ask questions. If it is determined that the Hayward Animal Shelter is a good fit, the applicant is invited to complete an application and submit it in person during the hours that we are open to the public. Upon submitting the application, he or she is interviewed by an animal services staff member. 

Because the Hayward Animal Shelter is a division of the Hayward Police Department we conduct background checks on all volunteer applicants. Once the application is reviewed and the background check has been cleared, applicants accepted to the volunteer program are invited to attend a new volunteer orientation session, at which time a shelter tour is provided; we discuss policies and procedures; and assign the new volunteers to their first shifts.

All volunteers are required to complete a minimum of 8 hours/4 shifts of support tasks such as laundry, dishes, and litter pans. This is accomplished in 2-hour shifts for four weeks. Once the prerequisite training is complete, you will be ready to schedule additional training in the area of your interest.

We want our volunteers to be satisfied and to feel needed in their workplace. If a good match cannot be made at Animal Services, we will refer the individual to another agency.Learn more about our volunteer program and opportunities by attending a volunteer orientation at the Hayward Animal Shelter. Check back for a list of upcoming orientation dates.

Once you have selected an orientation date please RSVP to (510) 881-7927 with your name, phone number and the date of the orientation that you will be attending.

Service Contacts:
Hayward Animal Services Bureau Volunteer Office: (510) 293-7200

Visit the Hayward Animal Shelter at:
16 Barnes Court, Hayward off Soto Rd.
Tuesday - Saturday
1 p.m.–5 p.m.

Animal Shelter Volunteer Portal