​Volunteer Services​

The animals and staff at AC&C need you!  We are a very busy shelter with many animals and people entering through our doors. We strive to provide the best possible service and always need additional volunteers!

There are three ways you can volunteer:

Become a full Volunteer- Requires a minimum 4 hours a month, application, background check, and drug test.

Become a Kitten Nursery volunteer- Requires a minimum of 4 hours a month, application, and background check.

Become a Foster Parent- Requires an application.

For short-term volunteering- If you are 18+ years, want to volunteer, and cannot commit to the required 4 hours a month, you are still welcome to volunteer! You'll need to email Lori Todd at ltodd@cmpd.org to get the current volunteer visiting hours and you must sign a waiver at the start of each visit.

For minors- If you are 15-17 years old, you are welcome to volunteer at the animal shelter. You will need to email Lori Todd at ltodd@cmpd.org to set up an appointment date(s) for you to be paired with one of our veteran volunteers. Your parents will be required to sign a waiver every time you are scheduled to come out.

By scrolling down the page, you'll find each section in a drop down menu along with the applications to get you started on joining the volunteer team.

Before you join, remember that the hours are a minimum of 4 hours a month.

Volunteer Jobs:​​

  • Lobby Attendant & Animal Interaction – Volunteers assist front counter staff by retrieving animals from the adoption kennels for citizen introduction and adoption consideration. Pet owner education also is relayed through conversations with the adopters. Plus, pet owners often search for lost animals at our shelter and need direction from volunteers.

  • Exercising/Socializing Animals – The shelter's dogs, cats and rodents spend a lot of time in their cages and kennel runs. Volunteer attention given to the animals through walks, petting, side yard runs and toy play provide the physical release and trust building interaction needed.

  • Bathing/Grooming Animals – The staff needs help with bathing and grooming the animals to keep them clean and healthy! Presentation is everything and those animals looking their best will attract the adopters.

  • Cleaning/Disinfecting Kennels & Cages – Daily cleaning and disinfection of the animal kennels and cages is a time consuming job but vital for preventing the spread of animal illnesses. The shelter staff is very appreciative of the volunteer help received.

  • Off-site Adoption Events – Adoption saves animal lives and the opportunity to adopt is given not only within the shelter but also at various off-site locations throughout the county. Volunteers are needed to assist with adoption event preparation including animal social skill assessment, animal bathing and supply gathering. Adoption events are managed through volunteer shifts and the jobs include animal showcases, public education, adoption agent paperwork duties and mascot costume wear!

  • Spay/Neuter & Rabies Vaccination/Microchip Clinics – Volunteer support to the vet staff within clinics is needed on the second Saturday of each month. Animal patient check-in, surgery recovery monitoring, instrument pack assembly and crowd control are some of the jobs assisted by the volunteers.

  • Pictures, videos, bios – Animals are made adoptable every day. New pictures, videos, and bios need to be created for marketing them in order to help them find new homes.

When you successfully complete volunteer orientation you will be partnered with a volunteer mentor for training, and receive your On-Site Activity shirt for $20. After that, as you complete the other designations for Off-Site Events, you will receive specially designed shirts at no charge.

The volunteer process can take some time since we are part of the police department. We ask that you be patient while your application and background checks are processed. Once complete, you'll be contacted for a drug test, and then contacted to attend a volunteer orientation.

Ready to join the volunteer team? Great! Fill out the volunteer application.

We are not accepting applications for new kitten nursery volunteers at this time.

We highly encourage you to sign up a foster parent to for neonate and young kittens to help us in the effort of continuing to save lives. Scroll down to the next drop down menu and click the "+" sign. There you will learn more about the fostering program and be able to fill out the online application.

Some people don't have the time to fully commit to at-home foster care. This is why AC&C has a neonatal kitten nursery at the shelter.

If you've come to this page because you have found kittens, the first step in the process is to wait to see if the mother returns before you consider bringing them to the shelter.  Their Mother is the best chance the kittens have for survival. We created a video to help explain what you should do when you find kittens.  We no longer accept healthy stray or feral cats; here's why. We also created these videos:
Community Cats
Trap Neuter Return
Cat Deterrents

While It is always best for babies to be with their mothers, we know that's not always possible.  This is why AC&C has a kitten nursery at the shelter to care for the babies until a foster or rescue can be found.

Our orphaned neonate kitten nursery was created to help house these animals while staff contacts rescue and foster homes. The nursery can house up to 40 crates of kittens at a time. Volunteers are needed to help feed and care for these little ones until a foster home opens up.


  • Volunteers must be 18+ years before applying but you do not have to be a Mecklenburg County resident.

  • 16-17 year olds can apply to volunteer. A waiver must be signed by a parent every time you come to the nursery. Children under the age of 16 cannot come into the nursery for safety reasons; even with an adult there with them.

  • Volunteers must be ready to provide a minimum of 4 hours per month in the nursery.

  • The nursery is open 7 days a week from 6:30am to 9:30pm daily.

  • The nursery is anticipated to run from April to the end of November. These months can change based on how many orphaned neonate kittens we have in our shelter.

  • The nursery is inside the AC&C shelter at 8315 Byrum Drive, Charlotte, NC 28217.

  • Complete the online application. One application per person. Once we receive your application, it will be processed and a background check will be performed. Note: the background check is required for all potential volunteers with AC&C.

  • Once approved, volunteers will be emailed about Orientation and training.

  • You may NOT receive an email/confirmation that your application has been received but you WILL be contacted when you are approved for Orientation and training sessions.

  • The mandatory training is accompanied by required videos to watch. So, while you are waiting to get approved, watch the Kitten Lady video on Youtube for bottle feeding tips and tricks.

  • Please be patient as the application and background checks are processed. It could take a couple of weeks to receive an email.

Thanks to the George D. Patterson Family Fund for their generous grant to help make this nursery possible.

Want to help keep our kitten nursery fully stocked with all the food and supplies we need? Go to our Make a Donation​ page to find our wish list as well as make a monetary donation online!

Fostering a pet is not a lifetime commitment; it’s a commitment to save a life.

We are always looking for foster parents who are willing to open their home and hearts to take animals home to help with various health, behavior, or medical needs. One special need among fosters are neonate kittens; both newly weaned kittens who just need time to grow/be socialized and neonates who need to be bottle fed. It’s fun, rewarding, and a wonderful experience.​​

You do not need to be a full CMPD Volunteer to be a foster parent. Being a foster parent can include actively looking for a new home which means that the animal could be listed as available and your contact information will be listed on the website. Potential adopters will be able to contact you directly.

As you decide whether to become a foster parent please consider the following:

  • Can you separate your foster animals from your own?

Many of the animals coming to the shelter have never received vaccinations or even been to a veterinarian.  While we make every effort to assure that only healthy animals are placed into foster care, some do become ill.  We do not want any diseases to be transmitted to your personal pets so isolation of foster animals for the first few weeks is important.  This also will allow time for your pets to acclimate to the presence of your foster animals.

  • Are you prepared for the time investment of fostering?

No matter what type of animal you are interested in fostering there will be a time commitment of at least several hours each day.  This will entail feeding the animals, cleaning up after them and socializing them.  In addition you will need to make multiple trips to the shelter so that the veterinary staff can monitor their health.

  • Are you able to monitor the health of the foster animals?

When we entrust you with the care of our animals we will be relying on you to watch them for signs of illness or injury.  You will have to learn what is normal for your foster animals to be able to recognize what is abnormal and report that to us as early as possible so that we can treat the animal accordingly.

  • Can you get to us quickly in the event of an emergency?

If an animal in your care needs medical attention you must be able to transport the animal to the shelter or a designated veterinarian.

  • Can you place your trust in staff to decide what is best for an animal?

Sometimes adoption is not an option even after an animal has been in foster care.  This can be hard to manage emotionally.

  • Can you tell your friends that they must go through normal adoption procedures?

While we hope that you will network with your friends and family to find your foster animals a home they will need to come to the shelter to complete the adoption transaction- these animals cannot be adopted out from your house.

  • Are you emotionally prepared to return the animal after the foster period is over?

Many people who foster animals become attached to them and have difficulty letting go once it is time to return the animals for adoption.  You will have lavished love and attention on the animals in your care and then, one day, they are no longer around.  However, you can take comfort in knowing that they have the chance to find a loving home because of the work you did.

If you have answered yes to all these questions then we are excited to have you take the next step to become a foster parent!

You must be at least 18 years of age before applying but you do not have to be a Mecklenburg County resident.

NOTE that our greatest foster needs are for: bottle baby kittens, weaned kittens that need socialization and weight gain, and momma cats nursing babies.

There are several different types of fostering that are needed:

  • Kitten Fosters:  kittens too young to safely be placed for adoption.  Foster parents provide love and care while the kittens grow.  Once a kitten reaches the age and weight required for the adoption program, the kitten MUST be returned to the shelter.  The littles are easier to place! 

  • Cat Fosters: cats that have been in the shelter for a longer period of time need breaks from the kennel!  Also, cats that show behavior concerns in the kennel or in this hustle and bustle environment.  Length of time for fostering would be determined by foster coordinator.

  • Puppy Fosters: puppies too young to safely be placed for adoption.  This is a rare foster as we don't see much of this anymore (yay spay/neuter!).  But in the off chance that one might come in, the foster parent would provide love and care while the puppy grows.  Once the puppy reaches the age and weight required for the adoption program, the puppy MUST be returned to the shelter.

  • Dog Fosters: Adult dogs may need to be fostered for a variety of reasons: kennel stress, long length of stay in the shelter, heartworms, medical problems, and minor behavioral concerns.  You will work with the foster coordinator to determine length of time needed for foster.

Find the guidelines and application online.

Once approved you'll be contacted by our foster coordinator, Amy Yeager, to get you started.

*Please note that this foster program is only for our shelter animals in need of foster care. If you own a pet that you need to find a foster home for, you need to contact rescues groups to see if they can assist.*

​If you are looking to volunteer due to a court order, please contact Supervisor Trespalacios at cody.Trespalacios@cmpd.org

This is a completely separate program from the full volunteer program.

​​ATTENTION ALL HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS: If you have chosen animal fields or animal cruelty/abuse for your projects, please read carefully.

If your project includes a qu​estionnaire, please email our Officer Shrewsbury at dshrewsbury@cmpd.org and he will be happy to answer them.​​ One on one interviews are possible but by appointment only.

We know that your projects require volunteer hours. If you are 15-18 years old, you are welcome to volunteer at the animal shelter. You will need to email dshrewsbury@cmpd.org to set up an appointment date(s) for you to be paired with one of our veteran volunteers. Your parents will be required to sign a waiver every time you are scheduled to come out.

As an alternative, we always need money and supplies to help our shelter animals. If your project allows, you can hold a fundraiser and/or donation drive for us. Head to the donation page to find out what supplies we need, and which funds you'd like to finance.