Volunteer Policy & Guidelines
In order for our rescue to operate smoothly and with the maximum benefit to the animals, staff, and volunteers, the HSYC relies on its volunteers to follow established policies and guidelines. All volunteers are required to abide by the policies and guidelines detailed here. We reserve the right to withdraw the privilege of volunteering with our organization.
Volunteers must be at least 16 years of age to work without parental supervision (18+ for specified activities) and must enjoy working with and show a genuine concern for the welfare of animals. A willingness to work hard, get dirty, and pitch in wherever needed is appreciated. The ideal volunteer is willing and able to follow instructions & safety procedures, self-motivated, mature, sensitive, dependable, and a team player. Volunteers who work in direct contact with animals must exhibit a willingness to listen & learn about our animals and how to properly interact with them.
Volunteers must attend a New Volunteer Orientation before reporting to their first rescue assignment or rescue-sponsored event. Additional training is required for some activities. Volunteers must be in generally good health and be able to perform the tasks for which they are volunteering. Volunteers should check with their doctor if they have any health questions or concerns related to volunteering and working with animals. Each volunteer must complete a volunteer application and waiver. Parents must complete a waiver for each child under 18 years of age.
Volunteers must be willing and able to follow instructions and safety procedures without supervision. We reserve the right to withdraw the privilege of volunteering with our organization.
In addition to the hours open to the public, shelter staff and volunteers are at the shelter 365 days, prior to and after normal operating hours.
Time Commitment and Scheduling
Many of our volunteer activities do not require a prior commitment to sign up. However, we ask you to sign up to commit yourself to certain days/hours if you are able so that we know when we can count on you. Once you have agreed and committed to be available for a particular shift or rescue-sponsored event, we rely on you to be there. In the event that you are unable to show up for the shift or event, please contact the rescue/event organizer as soon as possible.
Volunteers interested in walking HSYC dogs are required to work 5 hours at the rescue prior to setting up their respective one-on-ones. More details can be found under Volunteer Opportunities.
Tracking Volunteer Hours
Please sign in each time you arrive at the facility to volunteer and sign out when you leave. We track volunteer hours for reporting purposes and also to know when a volunteer was on the premises. Wear your Volunteer T-shirt & name tag whenever you are volunteering.
Wear casual clothing appropriate to the weather and your activities and non-skid, rubber-soled shoes. Once you are in possession of your Volunteer T-shirt, please wear it to identify yourself onsite along with a name tag found at the Volunteer Station!! When wearing your HSYC Volunteer T-shirt, please remember you are representing our organization. Do it proudly and tell everyone about our amazing adoptable pets!
For safety reasons, do not wear open-toe or slip-on shoes (flip-flops, clogs, etc.). Do not wear loose clothing. Do not wear hoop earrings or long necklaces, as these can be caught by an animal's paw causing damage or injury to you or the animals you are handling.
Accident Prevention and Safety
The HSYC strives to provide a clean, safe, healthful, and hazard-free workplace. Accidents do happen, but with training, forethought, attention to detail, and personal responsibility for keeping areas hazard free, we can greatly reduce the number of accidents in our facility.
Accident prevention is everyone's job. If you see a safety hazard such as liquid on the floor, spilled food, or animals behaving in an aggressive or unusual manner, please address the problem or report it to a staff member immediately.
Reporting an Accident or Incident
Accidents, injuries, illnesses, and near-misses should be reported immediately to the Rescue Coordinator or other staff member whether they are related to an animal or not. An incident form must be filled out (animal or non-animal related). Basic first aid supplies are available in the rest rooms for scratches, cuts, etc.
When dealing with customers, fellow volunteers and staff, you must always be polite, courteous, and helpful. It is the policy of the HSYC that unlawful discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, sexual orientation, age, physical or mental disability, marital status, national origin, or any other status protected by law will not be tolerated. The HSYC is committed to a safe work environment free from all forms of violence. Acts of violence are strictly prohibited and will not be tolerated. When handling all animals, use the least amount of restraint necessary, and treat them with compassion and respect at all times.
The HSYC maintains a policy forbidding harassment of volunteers whether by supervisory volunteers, fellow volunteers, or other individuals that a volunteer may come into contact with as part of their assigned task or event. Harassment is deemed to have occurred when the conduct interferes with the volunteer's performance at the assigned task or event or creates a hostile environment for the volunteer. Any volunteer who may experience such harassment should promptly notify the Volunteer Coordinator, Rescue Coordinator, or an executive board member in order that an investigation can take place and appropriate action taken.
Drug and Alcohol Use
Volunteers should not report to the facility or any rescue-sponsored event while under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs. Volunteers should educate themselves about the effects of prescription and nonprescription medications which may impair the ability to perform volunteer work safely.
To protect our volunteers, animals, and property, smoking is not allowed on the HSYC facility, buildings, when walking dogs or around the animals at any rescue-sponsored event.
Any information pertaining to animal records including names, addresses, phone numbers, etc., of staff, volunteers, and customers, is confidential and should not be discussed with others nor removed from the rescue. All volunteers are expected to maintain confidentiality of all proprietary or privileged information to which they are exposed while serving as a volunteer. This includes information that may involve board members, other volunteers, clients, sponsors and/or the overall business of the HSYC. Volunteers are prohibited from discussing with the media any information found in HSYC records. If you are contacted or approached by the media or someone requesting information, you should direct that person to the Rescue Coordinator or Board Chairman.
Conflict Resolution and Communication
The best way to handle any misunderstanding or concern related to the rescue, its volunteers, or operation is to communicate openly and honestly as soon as it happens. We have an-open door policy for bringing volunteer concerns to the attention of the people who can best do something about them. No executive member of HSYC is too busy to answer questions or address problems or concerns. If you have questions or concerns, please bring them to us immediately so we can take appropriate and timely action if necessary.
Our environment can change regularly which can impact our Volunteers!
Communication is vital and the following is our preferred method of streamlined information sharing.
Each Volunteer is asked to join the following pages as a HSYC advocate and supporter:
- All Volunteers are encouraged to like and share our Facebook page Humane Society of York County Facebook page.
- For our Rescue Volunteers, please join the HSYC Volunteers Facebook page for pertinent information sharing (once Volunteer Orientation Registration and Session is complete).
- For our Foster Volunteers, please join the HSYC Fosters Facebook page for communications, opportunities and experiences (an onsite interview is required prior).
These groups are closed groups; simply ask to be invited to join so that you can post or read pertinent information and be part of ongoing discussions.
Adoptions by Volunteers
As you spend time with our dogs and cats, you may discover a furry friend to add to your family. Volunteers must follow the same policies and adoption procedures as any potential adopter. If an adoption should unfortunately not work out and an animal is returned to the rescue, we ask that the volunteer not participate in volunteer activities at the facility until the surrendered animal gets adopted (i.e. not at the rescue).