Career Opportunity – Animal Welfare Specialist

The Willamette Humane Society (WHS) located in Salem, Oregon is looking for a qualified, self-motivated, energetic, organized, and outgoing individual with compassion for animals.

We’re a team of 60+ staff and over 700 volunteers working jointly to achieve our mission:  establishing, maintaining, and enhancing the bond between companion animals and people of Marion and Polk counties.


The Animal Welfare Specialist (AWS) is responsible for ensuring a safe and healthful environment for the animals, staff, volunteers and visitors to our shelter.  The AWS must demonstrate, mentor, and reinforce Willamette Humane Society (WHS) values, principles and mission-driven culture.


  • Perform job duties in a positive, helpful manner.  Providing exceptional customer service and representing WHS in a professional manner in all situations with the public, volunteers and staff.
  • Assist the public in all aspects of shelter programs and share information to enhance the public’s knowledge of animal welfare as well as their knowledge of WHS mission and programs. 
  • Clean and disinfect all species kennel and cage areas, euthanasia room, exam areas, visitation areas and other animal care areas (infirmary, isolation, etc.) according to procedures.  Maintain cleanliness standards throughout the day.
  • Monitor and report any animal health or behavioral concerns to the supervisor or manager.
  • Assist in maintaining the order and cleanliness of the shelter facility and grounds.  Duties include vacuuming, dusting, cleaning bathrooms, mopping, washing windows, etc.  May assist with recycling of paper, glass, plastics and metals.
  • Share responsibility for laundry: ensure items are washed, dried and stored appropriately.
  • Train and monitor volunteers and community service workers as instructed by the supervisor or manager in your area.
  • Administer medications to animals as assigned by the supervisor or manager.
  • Perform opening and closing duties.
  • Perform other duties as assigned by the supervisor or manager.


None, but will engage with, train and support WHS volunteers.


The AWS works under the direct supervision of the Animal Welfare Supervisor.  Confidentiality and professionalism must be adhered to at all times. 


The AWS will have regular contact with other shelter employees, stakeholders and volunteers from all departments, as well as the public.  Some interactions may be difficult due to the nature of customer’s needs.  May work with area veterinary clinics, animal control officers, and other agencies.  All contacts with others will require a tactful and a professional demeanor and ability to work cooperatively with others.


  • Work takes place both indoors and outdoors.
  • Will have regular contact with animals with varying degrees of domesticity and physical condition. (Will be expected to work around live and deceased animals.)
  • Will work directly with animal wastes, kennel and cage cleaners and disinfectants, soiled kennels and cages, animal bedding and dishes.
  • May be exposed to heights, such as step stools or ladders.
  • Must employ basic safety standards at all times.  Will have access to, and be required to use, protective equipment such as boots, gloves, protective eye and ear wear, etc.
  • Evening, weekend, and holiday work is required.


  • Ability to stay standing or active during entire shift.
  • Must be able to lift 40 pounds. 
  • Must be able to lift 20 pounds repetitively.
  • Work performed requires lifting, bending, stooping, twisting, pushing, and other strenuous activities for extended periods of time.
  • May be required to take a physical examination paid for by WHS prior to the start of work activities.


  • Must be detail-oriented and organized, have the ability to do the duties of the position and prioritize tasks appropriately.  Able to accurately work with detailed information in paper and computerized format.  
  • Working knowledge of dog and cat breeds, an understanding and recognition of common diseases in animals and how to treat, and considerable knowledge of safe procedures for handling animals and their behavioral tendencies. 
  • Must understand and support humane options of training and be able to counsel the public in matters of training, behavior modification, and socialization. 
  • Must possess the ability to use exceptional judgment to provide the best counsel and customer service to both customers and animals even under stressful conditions.
  • Knowledge of WHS policies and protocols, such as, but not limited to, intake, cleaning and medical protocols.
  • Ability to create and sustain positive working relationships within WHS with volunteers, the public, and be a team player.  Must be able to deal with conflict in a professional and constructive manner.
  • Must work in a manner that reflects a safe environment for animals, the public and other employees.  Ability to handle animals safely and with patience, gentleness and compassion.
  • Ability to handle multiple tasks in a busy workplace environment.
  • Ability to learn and quickly adapt to changes in programs and procedures.


  • Must be a high school graduate or equivalent, and be able to read, write and speak clearly in English so that written and verbal instructions can be followed.
  • Previous shelter or veterinary experience is desired.

Additional requirements:  A demonstrated interest and enthusiasm for animal welfare and WHS Mission; be willing to work weekends, holidays, and evenings as required by the job; and meet the physical requirements of the job.


Salary:             $12.00 per hour DOE

Schedule:        Typically Thursday through Monday, 28 hours per week

Benefits:          Paid time off provided after 90 days. A 401(k) retirement plan is available after completion of one year of service with at least 1,000 hours.


Current employees should following the procedure outline in the Employee Handbook, page 15.

Volunteers may apply on line at: 

To be considered for this position, apply on line at .

A complete application package is required.  INCOMPLETE APPLICATION PACKAGES WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED. The application package will include:

Submit a completed application packet to WHS business office in one of the following ways:

Online at:

Due to the large volume of responses, WHS will contact only those candidates selected for interview.


Completed application materials will be reviewed upon receipt.  This position may close at any time.

All WHS employees are committed to the following mission-driven values:

Positive Service to All

Sharing Knowledge

Collaborative Problem Solving

Initiative and Innovation

Accountability and Responsibility

Safe Actions



Under the provisions of the Immigration and Reform Act of 1986, the successful candidate will be required to provide evidence of identity and eligibility for employment.  WHS is an Equal Opportunity Employer that does not discriminate on the grounds of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, marital status, disability, sexual orientation, genetic profile or any class protected by law.  WHS is a drug free/smoke free workplace.  Employment will be contingent upon successfully passing a drug screen (testing only for substances that are illegal in Oregon) conducted at WHS expense.