VOLUNTEERS RESTRUCTURE AT SHELTER

SAVANNAH, GA. (February 28, 2014): Volunteers at the Savannah-Chatham Animal Control Shelter are being reorganized into specific job functions, a move expected to improve service to both the public and the animals.

Rather than “generalists” who work in all areas at the shelter on Sallie Mood Drive, the volunteers now will focus on specific areas to expand their knowledge and expertise.

“That should allow us to present a more unified and helpful operation to the public and that will enable us to better serve the animals as well,” said Shelter Supervisor Jodi Lewis. “We actually have had members of the public voice concerns and may have lost adoptions of some of our animals because we were not as effective as we could have been.”

The changes also are expected to increase the length of time volunteers remain at the center as they find themselves more involved in smaller areas of the operation, Lewis said.

As many as 20 volunteers are engaged at the shelter at any one time, performing duties from cleaning cages to bathing animals. The limited shelter staff members find the volunteers invaluable but are concerned that many “burn out” quickly because they are spread too thinly over the entire operation or become frustrated at their level of training and experience.

“This new process will give us the opportunity to get the volunteers more involved in focused positions in which they can build an expertise,” Lewis said. “A more structured program with focused training and guidance, we hope, ultimately will lead to easier adoption and placement of the animals as well as retention and gratification to our volunteers.”

Shelter staff already is working on restructuring volunteers and adding an assistant volunteer program coordinator. The program should begin by mid-April.

Anyone interested in volunteering at Animal Control can email Jodi Lewis at jlewis01@savannahga.gov or Christina Sutherin at csutherin@savannahga.gov to be placed on the notification list when the new applications are available.

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