Animal Shelter Manager

Location: Exeter
Salary: £33,000 per annum (DOE)
Hours: 42 hours per week – live-in, on-site accommodation provided
Department: Animal Shelter, Office and Admin
Closing Date: 19/07/2024

Animal Shelter Manager Vacancy


Job Title: Animal Shelter Manager
Location: Little Valley Animal Shelter,
Black Hat Lane, Bakers Hill, Exeter EX2 9TA
Reporting to: Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
Responsible for: Shelter Staff
Salary: £33,000 per annum (DOE)
Hours: 42 hours per week – live-in, on-site accommodation provided


About Little Valley Animal Shelter:

Little Valley Animal Shelter is an independent, self-funded branch of the RSPCA.  It forms the Devon Branch and is located just outside Exeter city centre.  Little Valley is dedicated to providing a safe haven for animals in need until they are ready to be adopted.  Our mission is to offer compassionate care and facilitate the rehabilitation and rehoming of animals.  We pride ourselves on maintaining the highest standards of welfare and ensuring our Shelter is a welcoming and supportive environment for both animals and staff.


We have around 50 members of staff working in various roles across the organisation, from animal care staff, and admin support, to charity shop managers and online retail. We also have over 100 volunteers who work with us both at Little Valley and in our shops. Little Valley was established over 30 years ago and continues to grow and expand its services, facilities and animal welfare initiatives to cope with the growing demand in the Devon community.


Overall Purpose of the Job:

As the Animal Shelter Manager, you will be at the heart of our mission, overseeing the comprehensive management of the Shelter and ensuring adherence to RSPCA licensing standards. Your role is crucial in maintaining 24-hour cover and providing a nurturing environment for both the animals in our care and the staff who support them. Your ultimate aim will be to find homes for animals in our care through adoptions and fostering alongside your passionate and dedicated team of animal care assistants and our animal behaviourist.


Key Responsibilities:

Staff Management:

  • Recruit and lead Shelter staff, fostering a motivated and dedicated team. Be responsible for their training and development in line with RSPCA standard procedures and keeping up with continuous personal development to help the staff feel valued and invested in.
  • Maximise volunteer engagement, ensuring volunteers are well-trained, supported, and appreciated.
  • Supervise staff, generating and monitoring of teamwork rotas, and covering planned and unplanned absences.
  • Uphold health and safety standards for staff and visitors.
  • Implement performance assessments, appraisals, and other HR policies.


Animal Welfare:

  • Oversee the intake, care, and daily routines of all animals, ensuring high standards of hygiene and nutrition.
  • Maintain the well-established relationships with the Branch’s third party veterinary practice, and other practices in Devon. To include successful contract management and overseeing of the onsite weekly veterinary visit
  • Prevent disease outbreaks through vaccination and close coordination with veterinary professionals.
  • Develop and manage animal behaviour resources, seeking expert advice when necessary, from our full time animal behaviourist.
  • Manage supplies and equipment, including drugs, ensuring budget adherence and efficient stock control.


Animal Intake and Placement:

  • Ensure compliance with RSPCA policies for intake, rehabilitation, rehoming, and humane practices.
  • Oversee the intake of animals from various sources, including RSPCA inspectors, and make final placement decisions.
  • Manage contracts and relationships with local councils, police and other local authorities regarding stray animals.
  • Where appropriate manage the fostering of animals with approved fosterers


Facility Maintenance:

  • Maintain buildings, equipment, and grounds, coordinating with our full-time maintenance person or outside contractors as needed.
  • Regularly inspect equipment and manage service contracts.
  • Plan for equipment replacement and ensure the Shelter is well-maintained and attractive.


Administration and Finance:

  • Prepare and monitor annual budgets, seeking cost-saving opportunities.
  • Maintain accurate records, registers, and financial documents.
  • Compilation of information for the monthly payroll.
  • Handle correspondence, invoices, and financial reconciliation with support from the Finance Officer.
  • Ensure the security of the Shelter’s premises and assets.


Fundraising and Publicity:

  • Promote the Shelter’s work to the public, soliciting donations and fostering community support.
  • Liaise effectively with local media outlets, social groups, and visitors to promote goodwill among the wider public.


General Duties:

  • Perform all other tasks required to support the Shelter’s operations.


About You:

We are looking for an extraordinary individual to join our team as the Animal Shelter Manager. The ideal candidate will possess the following qualities:



  • Experienced Leader: You have a proven track record in managing teams and leading by example. Your expertise in staff and volunteer management ensures that our Shelter operates at its best.
  • Animal Welfare Specialist: You have a deep understanding of animal care, including intake, health checks, and rehoming processes. Your knowledge and experience with veterinary practices will be invaluable.
  • Operational Efficiency: You are skilled in managing day-to-day operations, from maintaining facilities to handling budgets, ensuring the Shelter runs smoothly and efficiently.


  • Animal Advocate: Your passion for animal welfare drives you. You are committed to providing the highest standards of care and making a significant impact on the lives of countless animals.
  • Inspirational Leader: You inspire and motivate your team with your enthusiasm and dedication. You create an environment where staff and volunteers feel valued and empowered.
  • Community Champion: You are dedicated to engaging with the public, promoting our Shelter’s work, and fostering a community of supporters.

Lover of Animals

  • Compassionate Caregiver: You have a genuine love for animals and a strong desire to improve their lives. Your compassion and empathy are evident in your daily interactions with the animals in our care.
  • Dedicated Advocate: You are committed to our mission and values, ensuring that every animal receives the care and love they deserve.

Community Builder: You understand the importance of community engagement and are passionate about building relationships to support our Shelter’s mission.


Knowledge, skills and experience:


  • Education qualifications: Educated to degree level or relevant lived experience.
  • Professional/Technical Qualifications/Skills: Excellent IT skills including database management
  • Competence/ Experience: In-depth knowledge of animal welfare and demonstrable delivery of related programmes or relevant transferable skills.
  • Knowledge and experience of relevant key performance indicators and performance evaluation and reporting.
  • Managerial experience to include motivational and development skills.
  • Excellent communication skills with ability to develop strong relationships across the organisation and with key external contacts.
  • Strategically focused with experience of developing long-term plans based on knowledge, insights and analysis.
  • Awareness of managing commercial contracts.


  • Achieved or working towards recognised animal vocational qualifications at appropriate level


  • Planning & Decision making.
  • Managing change to include strategic planning and effective decision making
  • Changing and improving, which could include creativity and forward thinking and influencing skills
  • Demonstrate an ability to make informed and well-judged ethical choices/decisions
  • Delivering Objectives
  • Commercial awareness/Achieving commercial outcomes.
  • Managing customers & stakeholders.
  • Task focused to include ability to prioritise, analytical and organisational skills and problem solving.
  • Personal Effectiveness/Engaging People.
  • Leading and communicating.
  • Individual responsibility/Personal awareness.
  • Team focused/collaborative.
  • Developing others.

Demonstrating and understanding diversity – to include valuing and respecting different views and ways of working, understanding the dynamics and confidentiality and promoting a diversity of new ideas within all aspects of the Branch.

Why Join Us?

  • Impactful Work: Make a significant difference in the lives of animals and the community.
  • Leadership Role: Lead a dedicated team and manage a dynamic and rewarding environment.
  • Career Development: Opportunities for professional growth and development.
  • Community Engagement: Build meaningful relationships with volunteers, staff, and the public.
  • On-Site Living: Live on-site in a spacious three-bedroom house (with ensuite and a dressing room/study) to provide continuous support and care for our animals. (If you live in close proximity of the Shelter already, living on-site may not be compulsory and will be open to formal discussion)


If you are passionate about animal welfare and possess strong leadership skills, we invite you to apply and become a vital part of our mission at Little Valley Animal Shelter. Join us in making a lasting impact on the lives of animals and the community.


This Job Description is not intended to be restrictive and should be taken as the current representation of the broad nature of the duties involved in your job and needs to be flexible to cope with the changing needs of the job.


Please note that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted for interview stage. If you have not heard from us by Monday 22nd July, please presume that you have been unsuccessful on this occasion.


Closing Date: Friday 19th July

How to Apply: Covering letter and CV emailed to Hugh Lowson (CEO)

Informal Interviews: From Monday 22nd July

In Person Interviews: From Wednesday 24th July

1. RSPCA Devon Branch is a separate, independent charity and employment in this post is with the branch, not the National Society
2. Screening questions have been added to the application process to help us select the most suitable applicants. Please answer these honestly, as if you are invited to interview, proof of experience, qualifications and references from previous employers will be required
3. The Shelter usually receives a large number of applications for our vacancies, so we are unable to reply to all applicants individually. If you do not receive an invitation to interview with 10 days of the closing date, please assume you have been unsuccessful on this occasion.

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