Volunteers not only brighten the lives of our resident animals, but enrich our lives as well. We receive approximately 10,000 animals every year and rely on volunteers to assist us in our efforts. Whether you choose to work with the animals, the public, or on special projects, you will improve the quality of life for the animals in our shelter and increase their chances for adoption.

Come make a difference for the animals in need at San Francisco Animal Care & Control. Meet new friends, reduce stress, and get some exercise. It’s good for our animals and good for you!

Volunteer Requirements

Volunteers must be at least 18 years old to volunteer at SFACC and able to volunteer for at least six months working one shift per week for two hours.

Volunteers seeking to fulfill a community service requirement through a court deferment, school requirement or counselor recommendation must first be approved by the Volunteer Coordinator. Call (415) 554-9427 or
e-mail [email protected].

Parents or legal guardians may volunteer with children 12-17 years old if the parent (or legal guardian)/child team attends all orientations and classes together, stays together during volunteer service and agrees to volunteer for the minimum volunteer commitment of two hours a week for six months together. Parent/guardian in parent/child volunteer teams are responsible for the safety of their child during the volunteers classes, workshops, and volunteer shifts, and must be with them at all times.

Steps to Volunteer

Step 1
Sign up for a New Volunteer Orientation session. Call (415) 554-9414 or email [email protected] with the date and time of the orientation you’ve chosen. Orientation sessions last approximately 90 minutes, and take place in the second floor lobby of SFACC. The shelter is located at 1200 15th St. at Harrison St., at the corner of Harrison and 15th Street.

Step 2
Train with ACC staff and volunteer mentors to work with the animal of your choice, or help out in other ways, like outreach, fundraising, or special projects at the shelter.

New Volunteer Orientations at ACC

New Volunteer Orientations begin at 10:00 am (2nd Floor Lobby). Call (415) 554-9414 or email [email protected] to sign up. 

  • November 10 (Saturday) **full**
  • December 1 (Saturday)
  • January 5, 2019 (Saturday)
  • January 19, 2019 (Saturday)

Volunteer Opportunities

Cat Volunteer
As a member of ACC’s cat volunteer team, you will work with our adoptable cats, providing socialization and company for our cats awaiting adoption. You will also assist adopters in choosing a new feline companion for their family, and show anxious owner/guardians through our lost and found rooms.

Dog Volunteer
As part of ACC’s dog volunteer team, you will provide exercise, leash practice and off-leash playtime to our available dogs. If you prefer to sit in a kennel and read with a dog on your lap, you can do that too (after completing basic dog-volunteer training). An assortment of informative dog training classes are available at no charge to all our dog volunteers. Dog volunteers may receive extra training to bring dogs on field trips, or to outreach or adoption events. Some dog volunteers may also receive special training to become Fetch volunteers and work with certain ACC dogs in custody.

Fetch Volunteer
As part of our Fetch volunteer team, you will provide enrichment and socialization for the owned dogs in the custody of Animal Care & Control. Fetch volunteers work with dogs who have been abused, neglected, or whose owners have died, been hospitalized or incarcerated. Dogs in custody could be part of a special program called “Safe Pets” designed to protect them from domestic violence situations, or they could have lost their homes due to fire or other disasters. Fetch volunteers need to first become an Animal Care & Control dog volunteer before applying for this special program.

Small Animal Volunteer
As part of our small animal team, you will provide socialization and exercise to the rabbits, rats, hamsters, guinea pigs, birds, iguanas, and whatever other small and exotic animals come our way. You will also assist in introducing adopters in choosing the best small companion for their family as well as providing education about the proper care required for these special animals. ACC bunnies even get playtime in the shelter park where they get fresh air and sunshine, and can kick up their heels. Come join the fun!

Mentor Volunteer
Volunteers who enjoy sharing their skills and knowledge are essential to the growth of our volunteer program. Our mentors volunteer team provide education and guidance to new volunteers by teaching classes, conducting one-on-one sessions, and by pairing up with less experienced volunteers to help them build their confidence and comfort on the job.

Foster Volunteer
Animal Care & Control occasionally needs foster care volunteers for our special-needs animals that require a warm, nurturing, temporary home offering consistent care. Special-needs animals include cats/kittens and dogs/puppies who are not quite ready for adoption because they are too young, too shy, or have a treatable medical condition. Foster care volunteers must first complete volunteer training and have a home set-up that will facilitate special-needs animals. A home inspection and special training may be required. See Foster Care Program.

Outreach Volunteer
As an outreach volunteer you will attend/manage a number of events to help spread the word about the work of Animal Care & Control. Outreach Volunteers help with set-up/tear down of event equipment, meet and educate the public, and distribute literature.

Reserve Officer (This program is currently unavailable)
ACC’s Reserve Officer volunteers work on the front lines with our Animal Control Officers as they respond to animal emergencies and enforce animal welfare laws throughout our city. This program requires that participants first volunteer and accrue hours in an animal-handling volunteer position.

Veterinary Volunteers
Veterinary volunteers assist our team of veterinarians and veterinary technicians in many ways. Holding animals during procedures, medicating animals, cleaning cages and helping with general duties benefit the staff and the animals in our care. Volunteers should have veterinary experience.

Social Media Volunteers
Social Media volunteers help by posting content on assorted social media sites and maintaining SFACC’s presence on platforms like Pinterest and Instagram.

Photography Volunteers
Animal Care & Control is grateful for the professional photographers who volunteer their time and equipment providing beautiful photographs for the shelter’s marketing efforts. If you are a professional photographer and would like to join the team, please e-mail [email protected].

Administrative/Organizational Support
The shelter welcomes volunteers eager to lend a hand with filing, organizing supplies, providing data entry, and doing laundry.

Corporate and School Group Volunteers
SFACC has volunteer opportunities for corporations, schools, and youth organizations on a limited first come first serve basis. Please note that group volunteer opportunities often do not include working with the animals. Please contact [email protected] to find out more.



Related Links
Toni’s Kitty Rescue
Volunteer as a Senior