Volunteers at the Greater Moncton SPCA will soon have to pay to walk the dogs and play with the cats while they wait for adoption.
The shelter said it will start charging its volunteers a fee to cover training and protect the animals’ safety.
“We've had a couple of incidents that have not been pleasant and could have been prevented with education and training,” said Karen Nelson, the shelter’s executive director.
"Although we appreciate the peoples’ time, we also need to spend our time educating our volunteers to do a better job. And so all of that, of course, costs time and money.”
Come January a full annual membership will cost $20 and includes voting rights at the shelter's annual general meeting. A half membership will be $10 a year and just covers volunteering.
The shelter is also asking people to bring in their own leashes to walk the dogs.
“I really felt that we needed a more productive volunteer program and we needed a more structured volunteer program. Better qualified and better informed volunteers,” Nelson said.
The charges are drawing a mixed reaction, but Holly Mitchell, who has been volunteering for a month, said she’s prepared to pay.
"Handling the dogs would be much easier, and probably learn some new things. Yeah, [I] definitely would continue coming,” she said.
While the fees don't come into effect until the new year, upgraded training at the shelter will begin as soon as possible.