It is kitten season and the Burbank Animal Shelter is overflowing
with felines, but the shelter also home to plenty of dogs, bunnies
and even a rooster.
This summer, volunteers at the shelter said they need more help
than ever cleaning out cages and socializing animals for adoption.
"There's all these mouths that need to be fed and not enough
hands, said Martha Brown, a senior volunteer.
The shelter has 60 volunteers but many of them go on vacation
during the summer, said Cynthia Cavanaugh, volunteer director of
Volunteers are essential to the nonprofit shelter and more of them
would improve quality of living for animals who spend much of their
time in "condos" or cages until they're adopted or sent to foster
"One of the main things that volunteers should be doing is
socializing animals for adoption," Cavanaugh said. "Dogs need to be
walked. Cats need to be played with .... That's one of the biggest
needs we have, because if animals are in here for a while and aren't
socialized, it affects them."
The shelter has housed up to as many as 130 cats at once and
cleaning is a constant process, Cavanaugh said.
"Anybody who walks in the door who says 'Do we need volunteers?' I
send immediately to fill out an application," Cavanaugh said.
Volunteers must be age 16 or older and go through an application
process and background check that takes about two to three weeks,
said Molly Stretten, vice president of the volunteer board.
Summer is a great opportunity for teenagers or "junior" volunteers
because they are out of school, but the shelter could also use more
retired people who are available during the work week, Cavanaugh
There are many projects -- such as educational outreach -- shelter
volunteers would like to pursue but don't have enough staff ,
Stretten said. They also need a volunteer public relations person, a
book-keeper and a secretary.
If people can not commit time to work at the shelter, they can
become a foster kitten parent and take an orphaned kitten home for up
to eight weeks.
Volunteering can be an incredibly rewarding experience for anyone
who loves animals, but especially teenagers who wish to pursue
veterinary science or animal careers, Stretten said.
"This would be a great place to learn about animals," she said.
"The junior volunteer program is the entry way to becoming a regular
volunteer or [registered veterinary technician] or veterinarian."
April Scott, now a kennel attendant for Burbank Police Animal
Control, was first a shelter volunteer.
Since she was hired in February as staff, she has worked tireless
hours at the shelter caring for her "kids." But without volunteers,
she would never leave, she said.
"Volunteers are probably one of the main arteries and why this
shelter is standing," she said.
Volunteer hours are flexible but since they only work a few hours
a day, more are needed to cover gaps.
"I have to come to work thinking they're aren't going to be any
volunteers here," Scott said. "When I do see a volunteer here, that's
a bonus. That's a saving grace."
To find out about volunteer opportunities, call (818) 238-3340 or