BARC Animal Shelter & Adoptions

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A) WELCOME TO BARC! New Volunteer Training!

Steps you need to take to begin your volunteer journey at BARC!

Thank you for registering as a volunteer for BARC! 


Orientation will be held at the 2700 Evella Street (BACK ENTRANCE)! This will be off of JENSON Drive! NOTE! If you're GPS sends you to CARR or STEVENS IT’S THE WRONG ENTRANCE!


To get in use the BACK ENTRANCE at 2700 Evella Street , check in with the security guard and go to the Admin building to get access to the classroom.


Can you take a moment to read the Volunteer Handbook prior to attending the orientation? This should cover many of your questions.


IMPORTANT! Please read all of the following to ensure you’re eligible to attend orientation!

  • You must be 13 years or older to volunteer at BARC. PLEASE NOTE THAT NO ONE UNDER THE AGE OF 13 WILL BE PERMITED INTO THIS CLASSROOM. If you are under 18, you must be accompanied by your parent/guardian to the Volunteer Orientation. 
  • ANYONE HAVING TO LOG SCHOOL OR COMMUNITY SERVICE HOURS MUST BE DOING AT LEAST 25 HOURS OF SERVICE TO ATTEND ORIENTATION. No one doing court appointed or criminal related community service hours will be permitted.

A few more rules:

  1. Please refrain from excessively short clothing. The more skin that shows the more likely a scratch can occur and this could mean a 10 day quarantine for our animals.  We want everyone to be safe!
  2. NO FLIP FLOPS, anyone showing in open toed shoes will NOT be able to engage in any animal handling activities.
  3. Please be prompt and plan to show up 15 minutes PRIOR to start time. ANYONE who arrives late will be asked to reschedule.
  4. Please plan on bringing minimal personal belongings (i.e. backpacks and purses) or plan on keeping them in your trunk as we do not have the space to house these items. ‘
  5. Please ALSO let me know if you’re unable to attend so we can open that space for other volunteers!
  • Plan on being here for THE FULL 2.5 HOURS!


  • PARKING: You can park to the far left by the warehouses in the back, please do NOT Park in any space with a number as those are sized and reserved for our Animal Control Vehicles!


If you have any questions feel free to contact me. See you soon!!




Activity Shifts Start End
A) Volunteer Handbook 0

Cat Castle



For all animals housed in Cat Adoptions:

  1. No cat that is hissing AND lunging should be housed in the Cat Adoption building as it is a safety hazard to the public, volunteers and staff.
  2. All animals will be provided a hiding place whether it is a box (with no tape or staples as they are safety hazards for the animal), a towel or piece of newspaper covering part or all of the cage or a large paper bag.
  3. Take advantage of any down time in Cat Adoptions, especially with kittens; SOCIALIZE, SOCIALIZE, SOCIALIZE.
  4. All enrichment should be handed out by 12:30P.M.
  5. All ACTs will initial and date deep cleaning on the deep cleaning schedule. Deep cleaning consists of removing the cats from cages and acceling all surfaces.
  6. Cats believed to be good candidates for offsite events should be marked as “Teachers Pet” in Chameleon.
  7. Meet and Greet rooms should be cleaned according to protocol.

Pay Attention to Animal's Health: 

  1. Pay close attention to health. If the animal is exhibiting signs of fading the animal MUST be taken to the vet immediately. If there is no immediacy and the animal is exhibiting signs of URI, please ask a Sr. ACT if you are unfamiliar with the signs of URI, take them to Isolation and put a note of their symptoms and place on VET EVAL in chameleon. If fecal is needed, please collect fecal samples for kittens with loose stool and take to Sr. ACT in surgery. Some intestinal parasites (like hookworms) can be fatal and notifying ahead of time can help prevent sudden death.

Kitten Room



  1. The kitten room should be cleaned with 2 people if able. If 2 people are scheduled in Cat Adoptions, due to short staff that day, call outs, etc., it would probably be best if both ACTs cleaned the whole building together.
    1. The kittens are messier, hungrier, and way more active than the adults. The majority of the kittens need to be spot cleaned minutes after their cage is clean/set up and continued on a regular basis throughout the day.
  2. Unless cats are exhibiting fearful behavior, please reference - , all water bowls should be placed in the back of the cage to prevent them from getting wet when they approach the front of the cage. Cats exhibiting shy body language should have boxes in the back and food and water bowls in the front.
  3. If kittens are using anything other than their litter box for defecation or urination, it is a sign that there are too many cats in one cage. Example: A litter of 4 can be split into TWO single cages of 2, to help with this problem.
  4. Kittens that are single must have a plush toy or blanket.
    1. This will help keep their stress levels down and improve their adoption chances/overall behavior.

 Adult Cats:

All cats that are not able to be easily handled past 3 days should be reported to a shelter supervisor and notes made in chameleon. 

    1. They then need a note every 1-3 days afterwards noting any behavioral changes.
    2. If a cat is not able to be easily handled after 3 days, one of two options should be considered:
  1. A request for a plea needs to be sent to BARC AID with a behavioral note as to why you are requesting a plea. OR
        • All behavioral notes should have what measures we are taking to ease stress and help the animal become adoptable. If you are unsure about either writing notes or how to socialize fearful cats please ask a shelter supervisor.
  1. Cats should be chosen for the free roaming room based guidelines in the Free Roam Room Cat Introduction SOP.


  1. Take advantage of any down time in Cat Adoptions, especially with kittens; SOCIALIZE, SOCIALIZE, SOCIALIZE.
  2. All enrichment should be handed out by 12:30P.M.
  3. Any inventory discrepancies need to be immediately reported to a supervisor or manager via email. In that email it should include everything that has been done to solve the issue and measures that will continue to be taken to solve the problem.
  4. All ACTs will initial and date deep cleaning on the deep cleaning schedule. Speak with Shelter Supervisor with questions on what deep cleaning consists of
  5. Cats believed to be good candidates for offsite events should be marked as “Teachers Pet” in Chameleon with a note on why in chameleon.
  6. Meet and Greet rooms should be mopped and swept daily
  7. Secondaries include but not limited to: 
    1. Primary
      1. Stapling cat boxes
      2. Sanitizing dishes
      3. Organizing and restocking carts
      4. Behavior notes and bios
      5. Clean windows
      6. Ensure all kittens have been weighed at least twice a week
    2. Secondary
      1. Prepping enrichment
      2. Organizing and cleaning storage areas: enrichment section, laundry room, etc.
      3. Restocking handouts
      4. Wipe down computer, keyboard, mouse and phone with alcohol wipes

Some Daily Tasks in the Cat Castle


Morning Tasks (to be completed before 12:00pm)


Free Roaming room/”Getting to Know You” rooms cleaned

All cat cages cleaned

Floors in kitten room/overflow room cleaned and mopped

Floors in customer-facing areas cleaned and mopped

Bathroom, dish room, laundry room swept



Afternoon Tasks


Spot cleaning of cages as necessary

Replace litter/newspaper

Re-fill food and water bowls as necessary

Replace bedding/boxes if wet/soiled

Spot cleaning of floors when dirtied by litter, food, or water spillage

Enrichment toys/products passed out to cats

Wet food given (if not done already)



All Day Tasks


Make litter boxes

Wash/dry dishes

Put up clean laundry. If necessary, bag dirty laundry

Restock cleaning carts with all appropriate supplies

Work in box room to create order

Other tasks as directed by ACT, such as giving flea baths to kittens.



Activity Shifts Start End
1) Read First: Cat Cleaning Protocols 0
2) Read First - Cat Handling 1
3) Read First - Stress Reduction and Shy cats 1
Extra Information: Free Roaming Cat Room Intro 1

Shelter Photography


Activity Shifts Start End
Bio Writing Information 1
Helpful hints and tips for shelter photography 1

Volunteer Leadership

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A) Volunteer Handbook 1

Mission Statement

The BARC Vision

Our vision is to be the nationally recognized model of excellence in animal care and placement where city governments throughout the United States see BARC as the beacon of best practices dedicated to delivering humane, efficient and high quality service.


The BARC Mission

Our mission is to promote humane animal care and protect Public Health and Safety in the City of Houston, including shelter, pet placement, ownership, education and enforcement. Critical to our mission is excellence in everything we do.