If cats and dogs are your passion, but you don't have the space to add another one to your family BayCounty might have a good option for you.
The animal services division recently introduced a new on-site volunteer program after a long absence. New volunteer guidelines were approved by the county commission last week. "They can help wash dogs and walk dogs and help in the cat room and just play with the animals its a big part of keeping the animal happy and in a healthy environment is to make sure they have the attention,” said Ed Smith, Bay County Manager.
In the last couple of years, a lot of changes have happened at the BayCounty animal shelter including lower adoption fees, upgraded facilities and now a volunteer program. "The last year or so we've spent looking into our operation, making some significant changes and while we were doing that we wanted to hack our deck clean, but now we are welcoming them back in with open arms."
A recent safety study done by the University of Florida helped the county incorporate more hands-on tasks for the volunteers.
Socialization, grooming and cleaning are all things volunteers can do.
In order to get involved, volunteers can find specific details and sign up online at the Bay County Animal Services website. Some aspects of running an animal shelter can be dangerous, so the guidelines help keep the volunteers, the staff and the animals safe. "In the beginning we really didn’t have a formal policy and that was part of our problem,” said Smith. “There was really no structure no direction that was our fault and we think we have fixed that now. Everyone is going to be clear about what is expected of them.. What hours they are going to work.. I really think people will like it." In the week since the program was launched, already four people have filled out applications and more than a dozen others have asked for more information.