Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteering at Manatee County Animal Services (MCAS):
How to Get Started

Volunteers are essential to our lifesaving mission. Some of the volunteer activities you can help with include: dog walking, socializing dogs & cats, enrichment activities, fostering, photography, and special events. Junior volunteers are welcome to join us, but must be aged 16 – 17 years old (see details below under Volunteer Requirements). Volunteer opportunities are constantly changing as we grow and develop new programs; but what doesn't change is your impact.

In order for you to get the most out of your experience at MCAS, there are a few requirements we ask volunteers to meet.

Volunteer Requirements

• Submit an online application, which includes signing a volunteer agreement and a Release and Waiver of Liability form.
• Complete an online general volunteer orientation session.
• Attend an in-person interview and tour of our Palmetto or Cat Town facility and pick up your volunteer wristband.
• Sign up and volunteer for three Support Task activities at either facility prior to participating in the various MCAS volunteer opportunities.
• Be able to work independently and meet the volunteer requirements – including the essential capabilities of our volunteers.
• Attend additional training sessions as required by MCAS.
• Volunteer at least monthly.
• Treat all animals with kindness and concern for their welfare.
• Represent yourself and MCAS in a professional manner and treat clients, staff, and other volunteers with respect.
• Junior volunteers (age 16 and 17 years old) can volunteer after completing all registration requirements and the orientation tour. Junior volunteers will need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian while volunteering (except if volunteering at Cat Town). Junior volunteers can foster once an application has been completed by a parent or guardian.

New volunteers apply here.

Special Volunteer Opportunities

Veterinarian Services Surgical Volunteer

 MCAS is searching for volunteers to assist the Veterinarian Services staff by providing general observation and care of animals. Interested volunteers must be at least 18 years of age, reliable, understand MCAS’s mission and goals, be flexible, and have a great love and compassion for our furry friends.


Position Description:

Compassionate care is the top priority for all animals. Major responsibilities include: ensuring surgical equipment is clean, orderly, and ready for use; observing pets in recovery stage from surgery; changing blankets and sheets as needed; and other duties as needed to ensure that every animal receives appropriate and timely medical treatment.



  • Able to assist in recovering animals following surgery.
  • Able to lift up to 40 pounds and team lift larger animals.
  • Ability to safely restrain small to large animals as needed for medical procedures.
  • Must be comfortable observing sedated animals, and those undergoing surgery.
  • Must be able to follow verbal directions.
  • Must be able to kneel and squat.
  • Willing to clean kennels. stock supplies, and help with general cleaning (laundry, sweeping, mopping).
  • This volunteer position will assist at least one weekday per week for approximately 4 – 7 hours.


All selected candidates will have an opportunity to interview with our Medical Director. Candidates selected to move forward will spend a day shadowing in Vet Services prior to being accepted for the position. The Vet Services Surgical Volunteer must adhere to strict confidentiality guidelines.

For new volunteers, please apply here.
For current volunteers, please email janine.davis@mymanatee.org.

Fostering Opportunities

Foster parents are volunteers that provide temporary care for animals who aren't quite ready for adoption due to age, health or behavior. The necessary supplies are provided by MCAS, so all you need is time and love to give! If you have room in your home and heart and are interested in becoming a foster volunteer, please fill out the volunteer application above to start the process. For additional information about the program, please contact 941-742-5933 ext. 8314.

Click here to become a FOSTER.

How Our Community Can Help MCAS

While volunteering involves specialized training, especially for animal-handling, there are many ways that you can still help MCAS.

Donations are needed on a year-round basis. Items such as training treats, cat toys, canned kitten food, bleach, laundry detergent and dish soap are always welcome. When the weather becomes cooler, we will post on social media when we require blankets and towels. Some neighborhoods and classrooms have started their own donation drives for supplies for the shelter; this is a wonderful way to engage your community to help our shelter.

Promotion of the shelter is always needed. Come by the shelter and pick up our materials and help distribute them to businesses and other locations. This helps spread the word about our programs and services. Use your social media platforms to help promote MCAS, including our adoptable animals and current promotions. 

If you need help with any of the above options, or have ideas on how you would like to help MCAS, please contact 941-742-5933 ext. 8314.