Volunteer Guidelines and Agreement
PLEASE READ THIS ENTIRE AGREEMENT BEFORE SUBMITTING:
Who we are, what we do: HARTT, Inc. (Humane Animal Rescue and Trapping Team) is a volunteer-based Arizona nonprofit organization. Our mission is to reunite lost pets with their families, and to rescue dogs and injured cats who are stray, lost, or living on their own who cannot easily be captured through ordinary means. Bringing these animals to safety often requires extraordinary patience, specialized strategy, skill and equipment, as well as time and resources. Most of our volunteers operate in Maricopa County, however we also serve other cities in Arizona based on volunteer availability. We also train and network with other humane trappers in other counties within Arizona.
Our organization is different from other rescue groups; most focus on adoptions, and they don’t perform field rescue. We focus on field rescue of animals who are not already safely contained; our primary focus is getting them to safety. HARTT is supported primarily by donations from the public; we have no government contracts and receive no government funds.
HARTT’s focus is on humanely rescuing animals in need in this priority order:
• Lost family pets (dogs and cats)
• Injured stray animals (dogs and cats)
• Substantially healthy and uninjured stray dogs who are in a dangerous or imminently-dangerous situation, or who are wearing an obvious ID tag
• Substantially healthy and uninjured stray dogs who are not in imminent danger
As with any rescue organization, we are limited in the number of animals we can help. We therefore do our best to prioritize cases based on the criteria above, including the condition of the animal, length of time in the area, whether or not the pet is owned and a family is able to assist, the immediate potential risks to the animal and urgency of the situation, and the availability of and distance from our volunteers. HARTT partners with a variety of animal welfare organizations and rescue groups to assist us with the intake of animals we trap. We also have several limited internal resources for temporarily housing the animals we rescue. We are unable to guarantee placement with a specific organization or rescue. We encourage our volunteers to help us promote and publicize animals who remain in our care, socialize them, and network them in order to find suitable fosters, placement partners or adopters. While we welcome the input of volunteers who have trapped, rescued or fostered an animal for HARTT, the ultimate decision around placement will be made by the HARTT Rescue Coordinator.
Volunteer Training and Communications: In order to assure that all volunteers have a full understanding of HARTT’s services and role in the community and our methods of operation, volunteers must attend and complete at their own expense the Humane Dog Trapping Workshop either before, or within 9 months after, becoming a volunteer (the cost is estimated to be $60 per person and is one of HARTT’s fundraisers that supports the purchase and upkeep of our specialized equipment).
Each volunteer must have also completed a Volunteer Application which outlines experience, skills, availability and areas of interest. We may ask that a new Volunteer Application be completed periodically, in order to receive updated information on your areas of interest and availability. Volunteers agree to complete any additional required specialized training related to their area of service. In addition, all volunteers should read all pages and forms found on our HARTT website (www.azhartt.org) within the first month of service in order to learn more about our organization, our team, our practices, our services, and the resources we offer in the community.
Volunteer Roles: The organizational structure of HARTT consists of several different roles. These include but are not limited to lost dog searches, trapping, fostering, and volunteering in one of our facilities. As a HARTT volunteer, you agree to serve for a minimum of 12 hours per month (excluding specialized, project-based volunteers who assist with equipment, repairs, maintenance, administrative or other special projects) on a hands-on basis, for a minimum 6-month period, in order to be considered a “HARTT Volunteer”. After completing 6 months as an active volunteer, and as you progress in your skills, knowledge and volunteer service, other specialized roles may become available. We look forward to considering you for these specialized roles in the future!
Conduct: HARTT has earned a reputation of professionalism within the animal welfare community; speaking poorly of another animal rescue organization or individual in any public forum, whether in person, in print or in social media, will not be tolerated. This includes speaking in a defamatory manner about open-intake shelters and animal control agencies. HARTT volunteers, especially volunteers who serve in the field, must interact regularly with members of the public, most of whom are not well informed about animal welfare, animal care, or humane capture practices. We depend on community members to support our efforts by allowing us to be in their neighborhoods, post flyers, often to be on their property, assist us with feeding stations, help us to locate lost pets, and more. Members of the public may inadvertently get in the way or jeopardize our strategy by “trying to help” in ways that are counterproductive. Working with community members in a polite, respectful and patient manner, and educating without being patronizing, is critical.
At any point when engaging in HARTT business, including lost pet searches, canvassing and stake-outs, hanging flyers, setting up equipment, actively monitoring traps, humanely capturing, transporting, caring for or socializing animals, or representing HARTT at events or fundraisers, HARTT volunteers may not be under the influence of any substance to a degree which would not be viewed as acceptable by law enforcement if one were driving, or that is apparent to others.
We are proud of the experience of our HARTT volunteers – celebrating this diversity is critical to our success. Emotions run high in animal rescue, and therefore we seek volunteers who will work collaboratively with one another, even in tense situations. We treat one another with courtesy and respect and we communicate with one another with kindness, whether online, by phone or in person. If we have a concern over an issue, we address the issue with the person(s) involved directly, verbally; we seek to find an amicable resolution as quickly as possible, so that we can return to helping the animals who depend on us.
Availability: Volunteers should be clear about their availability related to their volunteer assignments. When agreeing to a leadership role in a field case or in other areas of service, make certain that all key responsibilities are covered by either you or another qualified appointee. If your availability changes, notify your Case Leader (CL) or, if you are the CL, notify your HARTT Team Leader (TL) as far in advance as possible.
The HARTT Culture: HARTT believes in continuous learning and improvement. The animals we save keep us humble and teach us that NO case is the same and there are NO absolutes. We encourage a culture of idea crowdsourcing, curiosity and open discussion where team members are free to make suggestions, challenge approaches, debate strategy, and share mistakes. We believe that this approach and willingness to engage in “respectful conflict” will make us a stronger, more capable team.
Exclusivity: In order to avoid confusion within the community, and to assure consistency of practices and guidelines, HARTT volunteers may not volunteer with other lost pet search and humane trapping organizations in the local area while serving in a volunteer capacity with HARTT or identifying oneself as a “HARTT volunteer”.
Use and Care of HARTT Equipment: Volunteers are responsible for the safe keeping of all HARTT property and equipment loaned for use in animal rescue, securing it on site as appropriate, assuring it is kept clean and in working order at all times, and returning it to HARTT in clean and working order upon request, or automatically when the volunteer relationship with HARTT ends.
Items to be supplied by volunteer: As a very small nonprofit, HARTT uses our limited funds primarily for the purchase of trapping equipment and supplies, electronic monitoring equipment, sheltering and the care of animals. We will also supply batteries for trail cameras, printing of flyers for lost, unowned animals (and, on a limited basis, for owners who are financially challenged) and gas for travel to and from longer-distance cases (further than 7 miles from the volunteer’s home). Long distance cases in excess of 30 miles from home must be pre-approved for gas reimbursement by the HARTT President.
HARTT volunteers will typically supply smaller items at their own expense based on personal preference including food for bait or feeding stations, gas for trips to and from trapping locations located within a 8-mile distance from the volunteer’s home, towels and bowls for traps, and other similar expenses. While HARTT may occasionally provide some of these items if we have them available, we do not intend to supply them on a regular basis.
Children (and other helpers): Minor children under the age of fifteen (15) may not accompany volunteers on trapping cases, when volunteering at a HARTT facility or when working with HARTT rescue animals unless written permission has been obtained via email in advance from the President of HARTT.
Other animals: Other personal or foster animals may not be brought onto the scene of lost dog searches or trapping cases, or into a HARTT facility or event, unless at the direct request of a HARTT Case Leader (CL) for a specific purpose related to the business of HARTT. When in the field, the behavior and comfort of a “target” lost animal with other dogs is uncertain, and the presence of or scent left behind from other animals on scene may keep the target animal from approaching a trap site or may frighten them from the area. An authorized exception would be another animal with whom the target animal has lived or is bonded with, and then solely under the direction of the HARTT Case Leader.
Scents and Tobacco Use: When volunteering, please avoid strong scents such as cologne or perfume. Furthermore, smoking, vaping, or using any tobacco product when on the scene of a field search, trapping or rescue or when serving at HARTT facilities or at events, is prohibited. These scents may deter a target animal from approaching the area, and they be also be offensive to other fellow volunteers or members of the public.
Firearms: When volunteering, volunteers who wish to carry a firearm must disclose their desire and intent to carry to their CL and other volunteers before arriving on scene. As a general rule, we do not encounter many situations where the carrying of a firearm is necessary and we highly discourage this practice. If all individuals are comfortable, the individual may carry such firearm if they have had formal training on the proper use and handling of the firearm, and if the firearm is appropriately and safely holstered.
Financial Support of HARTT: Your dedication and service as a volunteer is of great value! Volunteers ensure that we can spend every possible dollar raised on needed equipment and services. We also know that giving of your time comes with various costs to you personally. Because volunteers are so familiar with our work, they know that it takes both hands-on participation as well as financial support to accomplish our mission. As we begin to seek grants and financial support from organizations, the most powerful endorsement and statement we can share with them is that “100% of our volunteers are also donors.” The large majority of our volunteers support animal welfare causes through their personal philanthropy, and we ask that HARTT be at the top of those organizations you choose to support. We respectfully ask that each volunteer consider joining us as a monthly donor in an amount that is meaningful to you. Please visit www.azhartt.org/donate to become a HARTT supporter.
Media: HARTT volunteers agree not to speak to any member of the media without prior authorization from the President of HARTT. If you are contacted by a member of the media, please immediately forward those requests to the President, who will determine the most appropriate individual to speak on HARTT’s behalf based on the nature of the request.
Photo, Video and Audio Release: HARTT uses video, photos and audio recordings in the course of our work – this may include but is not limited to recordings captured in the field during trapping cases, at the shelter or during events to document HARTT activities, and to record interactions with animals for purposes of training and adoption. As a volunteer with HARTT you agree to the use of these recordings without restriction and for any purpose related to furtherance of the objectives and mission of HARTT, including use on websites, in social media posts, in print publications or for art, advertising, education or publicity. You further agree to refrain from posting or to remove postings of such media if asked to do so by your Team Leader or the President of HARTT.
No Compensation: As a volunteer you agree to provide your services without compensation, and you have no expectation of becoming an employee, partner, agent or contractor of HARTT.
Confidentiality: Both during and after the conclusion of your service as a HARTT volunteer, you may not disclose to others, and agree to use only in the performance of your volunteer duties, all confidential information that you obtain, develop or learn about during the course of your association with our organization. This requirement includes all information and knowledge not generally known to persons outside of HARTT and which you have not been specifically authorized to disclose or use. Examples of confidential information include, but are not limited to, information on finances, donors, volunteer performance, proprietary case media, all information regarding the animals rescued by HARTT, and information received from others that HARTT has agreed to keep confidential.
Term of Agreement: This agreement will apply to the entire term of your volunteer relationship, starting with the date you first perform volunteer duties for HARTT, even if it pre-dates the date of this agreement, and continuing as long as you continue to be a Volunteer and thereafter as is necessary to protect the interests and rights of HARTT.
Governing Law: This agreement will be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of Arizona without regard to conflicts of laws or principles.
Electronic Forms: The parties agree that this agreement may be electronically signed and that the electronic signatures appearing on this agreement are the same as handwritten signatures for purposes of validity, enforceability and admissibility.
Responsibility for your own Acts and Omissions: As a volunteer, you hereby agree to be legally and financially responsible and will indemnify and hold HARTT harmless for your own acts and omissions relating to the service you are voluntarily providing to HARTT. You are responsible for providing your own medical, liability, and auto insurance during your volunteer service. Volunteers are not covered by workers’ compensation nor insured by HARTT during the performance of volunteer duties and tasks, including when driving a vehicle, or when handling or transporting an animal. You additionally assume responsibility for any injuries or losses to any individuals, either minor or adult, who you allow to accompany you in the completion of your volunteer duties, including those who are both known and authorized, or unknown and unauthorized, by HARTT.
Nature and Scope of Services: As a Volunteer, you will be contributing your time and effort to various activities of HARTT and performing a wide range of tasks. These tasks will be performed by you as assigned by an officer, director, employee or another volunteer of HARTT. In the course of performing these services, you agree to read and to obey all safety rules and regulations, including when working with rescue animals housed at the HARTT shelter or other HARTT housing facilities. In the interest of the safety of the animals, staff, volunteers and members of the public, you acknowledge that HARTT has the right to revoke volunteer privileges if these rules and regulations are not followed. You agree to treat all HARTT staff, volunteers, the animals who we serve, and members of the community with respect and kindness. You understand that either you or HARTT can terminate this volunteer relationship at will without notice.
Physical Activity, Hazards and Risks: You are voluntarily participating in the activities of HARTT with full knowledge of the risks and dangers involved and hereby agree to accept any and all risks of injury, death, or damage to you and/or your personal property. As a volunteer you may come into contact with animals, and such work entails risk of personal injury due to proximity to animals, dangerous equipment, driving, working in outdoor environments, walking, hiking, carrying objects, and other considerations. Volunteers must know their physical abilities, skill level and limitations, disclose them to Case Leader or the senior HARTT representative on the scene at the time as appropriate, and agree to only volunteer for, or continue, tasks which they feel are compatible with their abilities and skill at the time. As a volunteer you agree to participate in the activities of HARTT with full knowledge of the hazards, risks and dangers involved and you hereby agree to accept any and all risks of illness or injury, damaged or loss personal property, illness, injury or death.
Release: As consideration for being permitted by HARTT to participate in volunteer service, you hereby agree that you, your assignees, heirs, guardians, and legal representatives will not make a claim against, sue, or attach the property of HARTT or its employees, volunteers, fosters, boarding or animal welfare or adoption partner organizations, for injury or damage resulting from any act, omission, negligence or other acts, howsoever caused, by any employee, agent, contractor, or representative of HARTT as a result of your participation in activities and performance of your volunteer duties. You hereby release HARTT from all actions, claims, or demands that you, your assignees, heirs, guardians, and legal representatives now have or may hereafter have for injury or damage resulting from your participation in activities and performance of your duties.
Arbitration: Any controversy or claim arising out of or relating to this agreement or its breach will be settled by arbitration in the State of Arizona, even if it pre-dates the date of this agreement, and continuing as long as you continue to be a Volunteer and thereafter as is necessary to protect the interests and rights of HARTT arising herein.
Volunteer Information: Please fill out the following information for our records before signing and submitting your form:
I HAVE READ THIS RELEASE AGREEMENT AND FULLY UNDERSTAND THAT I WILL RELINQUISH ALL CLAIMS OR ACTIONS KNOWN NOW OR IN THE FUTURE AGAINST HARTT. I am of legal age and legally competent to sign this agreement. I am signing this agreement of my own free will. I agree to at all times remain professional in the performance of my volunteer duties and act in a manner that reflects positively upon the HARTT organization.
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