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Call to create and maintain an active citizen volunteer program at Waggin' Tails Animal Shelter

This petition had 446 supporters


We are seeking the creation, development, and implementation of a community volunteer program at Waggin’ Tails Animal Shelter operated by the Town of Cicero, Illinois. Such a community volunteer program should be a collaboration between the Town of Cicero, Waggin’ Tails Director, and residents of the Town of Cicero and City of Berwyn.

The world of shelter care for animals is unrelenting. On a daily basis, caregivers at any given shelter can be overwhelmed by the number of animals that are brought in. The influx of animals is constant:

* strays picked up by animal control,

* animals surrendered by owners, or

* animals that are abandoned by careless owners who chain them to an outside fence or otherwise leave them unattended at the facility.

This perpetual flow of animals requires detailed care and follow through from the point of intake through their eventual exit either into the loving embrace of a forever home or, when circumstances are necessary, a compassionate death through euthanasia. In order to keep these animals in good health to be ready for adoption, they need constant and consistent attention as follows: food, water, bathing, socialization, medical care, and grooming. Once they are ready to be placed in a new home, it is up to the shelter staff to network and promote the animals on a daily basis to help connect them with just the right families. We believe the scope of work required to maintain these standards is more than the full time staff at any shelter can effectively accomplish on their own. To effectively accomplish this task, there must be a volunteer program established to assist the on-site staff with the daily care, nurturing and adoption networking of animals who are in the care of Waggin' Tails. Through the development and maintenance of this program, the community will be actively engaging to assist in the care of its animals. As a volunteer based program, this will be of little cost to the Town of Cicero and the efforts will pay for themselves over and over again through the effective management of animal care and increased adoptions. We implore the Town of Cicero to pass an ordinance to establish such a program immediately to ensure the appropriate care for all animals currently in the Waggin' Tails system. As stakeholders, we believe such an initiative is needed to restore public trust. We believe the program should incorporate the following best practices:

1. Documented training for all volunteers in general animal care and socialization skills. Skilled workers will help to foster a cleaner, safer and more hospitable environment for the animals and staff alike.

2. A lead volunteer liaison from each of the communities that uses Waggin' Tails as a shelter for lost, stray and abandoned animals. These liaisons will work directly with the Director to develop volunteer databases, schedules, job tasks and feedback. Liaisons will be responsible for monthly communication with Director in regards to concerns and opportunities raised by volunteer staff.

3. Transparency and communication with all volunteer staff on the challenges and opportunities faced in shelter care. We understand that the conditions are not always pretty. However, we are not willing to accept that the conditions will always be ugly. Through open communication and dialogue with staff and volunteers awareness can be raised for areas of improvement.

4. 100% commitment to the animal's best care. Through effective triage and regular care, medical and behavioral needs can be addressed immediately and the necessary care can be delivered.

5. Volunteer duties will include the following:

a. Feeding

b. Watering

c. Walking

d. Grooming

e. Bathing

f. Cage cleaning

g. Litter cleaning

h. Socialization

i. Adoption networking

j. Adoption assistance

k. Office duties

l. Reception work

m. Fundraising

n. Additional all other duties as arranged by Director and volunteer liaisons.



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