Being a volunteer is extremely rewarding, educational, and fun.  Plus, you will have a huge impact on the lives of homeless animals.  As a volunteer, you are a valuable asset to our organization, and to the many animals waiting for a new home. We offer a variety of volunteer opportunities - from dog and cat care to adoption assistance and community outreach, there is an opportunity for everyone. When you join our team of dedicated volunteers you will make a difference for the county's homeless pets. If you love animals and like working with people, we look forward to working with you.

Shelter Volunteer

Shelter volunteers perform a critical role in providing a more humane and compassionate experience for the animals housed at our shelter. Whether walking a dog, helping groom a cat, or just spending some quiet one-on-one time with one of the homeless pets at the shelter, the service you provide as a shelter volunteer goes a long way to creating healthy and happy animals.


  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Able to make a six (6) month commitment
  • Volunteer a minimum of 8 hours a month (2 hours/week)

Get Started

  • Complete a volunteer application

  • You will be contacted to schedule an orientation session once your application has been completed. Orientation sessions are held at least once monthly.

Foster Volunteer

The foster program is a resource for helping shelter animals who are not ready for adoption. This includes kittens and puppies less than 8 weeks of age, nursing cats or dogs, sick animals, animals in need of behavior modification, or animals who simply need a break from shelter life. Depending on age, orphaned kittens and puppies may need to be bottle-fed several times a day. For these little ones, foster care is literally life-saving!

Fostering benefits the animal, the adopters, and even the animals at the shelter. Foster animals gain experience living with a loving family and will have a much shorter adjustment period going into a permanent home. Animals at the shelter benefit because volunteers can spend more time with them.

Foster care can be short term or long term depending on the needs of the animal. A foster placement could be as brief as a few days or as long as a couple of months. Foster parents are never obligated to take an animal. If the foster placement does not work for your family or your pets, we'll place it in a different home. Fostering should work for everyone in the family.


  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Be a resident of San Luis Obispo County
  • Have landlord approval if you rent
  • All resident dogs in the household must be licensed
  • Be able to travel occasionally to and from the Animal Services shelter
  • Attend a foster orientation and training session

Get Started

  • Complete a Foster Application and return it to Animal Services
  • Once your application is received, we'll schedule a brief home inspection to ensure the conditions are appropriate for the type and number of animals you plan on fostering
  • After the inspection is complete, you'll be invited to a new foster orientation and any animal specific training
  • Once you've completed the orientation and training, you'll be added to our foster list and we'll notify you when animals needing your care arrive at the shelter.

Community Service / Court Ordered Service

The Community Service Program at the County of San Luis Obispo Animal Services is available for individuals who are required to complete court-ordered community service hours within San Luis Obispo County and the surrounding areas. Opportunities are available seven days a week, including holidays. Community Service individuals assist employees with daily duties at the shelter such as cleaning animal housing areas, laundry, dishes, and other duties as assigned. If you have any physical limitations or health concerns, please let us know in advance, so we can assess if we have tasks that accommodate your needs.

Acceptance of applications for community services hours is at the discretion of Animal Services management and is generally limited to non-violent offenses such as DUIs, traffic violations, loitering, and similar infractions or misdemeanors. Applicants with violent offenses (assault, battery etc.) or animal cruelty charges are not eligible to perform community service at Animal Services.


  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Be able to follow directions under staff supervision 
  • Be able to perform a variety of physical labor without any limitations 
  • Commit to a minimum of 20 hours of service
  • Adhere to scheduled work shifts; each shift is a minimum of 4 hours, but may be extended up to 8 hours per day depending on your availability
  • Work assignments are made by Animal Services staff based on operational needs; you must be willing to perform all duties as assigned
  • All shifts must be scheduled in advance; drop-in service is not allowed

Get Started

  • Email [email protected] or call 781-4256; provide your name, number of service hours required, the type of offence or reason for which you have been ordered to perform community service, and the deadline by which those hours need to be completed
  • Animal Services staff will contact you within five business days to schedule an appointment for a work orientation and scheduling meeting; you will need to bring a state issued ID and your court issued time sheet to this meeting
  • Once your work shifts have been scheduled, arrive on time and ready to work
  • After you have completed your required hours, contact the Volunteer Coordinator to have timesheet filled out; completed timesheets will be returned to you or to your case manager, depending on the requirements of the court

Group Volunteering

Do you have a group of friends, co-workers, or students who want to encourage teamwork and community engagement? Groups can support our work helping with special projects, deep cleaning areas of the shelter, organizing storage sheds, and more.


  • All volunteers in a group must be at least 18 years of age
  • Group opportunities are offered on weekdays from 9am-12:30pm or 1pm-4:30pm
  • Ideal group size is 6-12 people
  • Group projects generally involve helping to improve or maintain the animal shelter facility, grounds, or equipment; while they don't usually involve direct contact with animals, our sheltered pets do benefit from your efforts

Get Started

  • Email [email protected] with the folloing information
    1. Organization name
    2. Group leader's name, email, and phone number
    3. Estimated number of people in your group
    4. Time/date availability and whether a morning or afternoon project is preferred
    5. Any other information you think might be needed to make your volunteer project or idea a success
  • Please note: We appreciate your interest in helping and will make efforts to find a project that meets your interests; however, we cannot guarantee a group project will be available