Be a part of Southern California’s original, independent animal welfare organization.

spcaLA volunteers are the best in the world.
Since 1877, people just like you have volunteered their time and talents to help abandoned and abused animals right here in Southern California.

We speak to your passions.
You may choose to help animals at one of our shelters, assist at a special event, work with youth in one of our Violence Prevention & Humane Education programs, offer administrative assistance, foster a pet in your home, or select from another of our many volunteer opportunities. Choose the path that’s right for you!

We support you.
spcaLA lends our expertise to you. We provide you robust training opportunities, open communication and the support of our Volunteer Services Manager.


How do I apply to be a volunteer?

First step is to attend an information session of your choosing. You will receive an application after attending an info session.

What is the time commitment for spcaLA volunteers?

spcaLA counts on our volunteers to provide consistent services for the animals and people we serve. Volunteers are required to volunteer for a minimum six (6) months and commit to a schedule of eight (8) hours per month.

Volunteers looking to fulfill service hours for a school or club project may volunteer at our adoption centers and will receive an acknowledgement service letter after completing six months of volunteering and a minimum 20 hours of service.

Can I volunteer without the six-month commitment?

If you are a student and are unable to commit to six months of volunteering or looking to fulfill less than 20 hours of service, you may complete one of our student community service projects*. Each project listed has an approved hourly equivalent.

Download the Service Project Log to track your progress and turn in with your completed projects. You may drop off your completed projects at the locations and times noted on the project log. We will only accept and sign off up to a maximum 20 hours of student service projects.

How old do I need to be to volunteer?

If you wish to volunteer alone, you must be 18 years or older. If you are between the ages of 12 to 17, you can volunteer with an adult. Your adult teammate must also submit a volunteer application, complete all volunteer trainings and supervise you every time you volunteer.

What do I need to do to apply as a youth volunteer?
  • Both the youth and designated adult partner must sign up for an info session
  • Both the youth and designated adult partner must complete general application
  • Adult must complete adult/youth addendum. If the adult partner is not a parent or guardian, the parent or guardian must complete the section allowing a designated adult partner to volunteer

If your adult teammate is not a parent or guardian, your parent or guardian will have to sign a release allowing a different adult to accompany you to volunteer.

What can I do as a volunteer?

Almost anything! spcaLA Volunteers help with a wide range of tasks and are an important part of our organization. Do you have special skills like photography, event management, or programming? Let us know! We are always in need of a variety of talents. Click here to see our current volunteer opportunities.

I just want to walk dogs, can I do that?

At spcaLA, we do more than walk dogs. We work for the animals and with the animals, to help our shelter pets thrive in a shelter environment while teaching them skills they will need to be adopted and stay in a home. To work with dogs, you will start by learning and practicing enrichment techniques from outside their dens, and then progress to working with the dogs on basic training and obedience. Click here to view our volunteer opportunities and the training requirements for each.

Where can I volunteer?

It depends on what volunteer opportunities in which you would like to participate. Would you prefer to volunteer at the shelter with animals, in the community, or support spcaLA’s work “behind the scenes?” If you’d like to volunteer with animals in one of our shelters, click here to see our shelter locations. If you don’t live nearby though, we can still use your help at special events throughout the greater Los Angeles area, or even as a Foster volunteer!

Do I need to know anything special to be an spcaLA Volunteer?

Not necessarily! We are here to support our volunteers. We provide you with a rich training program, so you will feel comfortable and confident performing a wide range of volunteer tasks.

Is spcaLA no-kill?

spcaLA does not euthanize animals for time or space, but if an animal’s healthcare is beyond our ability to provide, or if he is or becomes aggressive, we may make the decision to humanely euthanize. Please read more about no-kill here.

I love animals, but I'm allergic - do you have any volunteer opportunities for me?

Absolutely! Perhaps you can provide administrative assistance at any of our three facilities, help with special events off-site or work with youth in our Violence Prevention & Humane Education department!

I have been mandated to perform community service, can I do it at spcaLA?

spcaLA cannot accommodate court-mandated community service.

Do you background check volunteers?

Yes, those who will work with children must be background checked and fingerprinted through the Department of Justice.

Is there an application fee to volunteer?

We do not have an application fee, however, we do ask for a $10 fee to cover the costs of volunteer supplies (official apron & ID badge), after you have completed your Volunteer Orientation.

I have more questions, where can I direct them?

Please email us at if you have additional questions.

*Please note we are unable to verify service hours for court mandated community service hours.