Veterinarian (Continuous)

US Government, Oakland Animal Services

The City of Oakland is an equal opportunity employer that values workforce diversity, inclusion, and equity. Oakland has a long history of activism around issues of justice and equity. Both oppression and this resistance to oppression have shaped the city’s historical roots and the lives of its residents to this day. As public servants to one of the most diverse cities in the nation, we strive to develop employees who understand the harm and impacts of systemic inequity to create lasting, meaningful outcomes for everyone. Oakland strives to establish an environment that embraces the richness of culture, community, and individualism of employees. 

Oakland Animal Services (OAS) is the open admission shelter for the City of Oakland. In the last two years, OAS has grown the veterinary team to two full-time veterinarians and three registered veterinary technicians. The needs of the veterinary team are also supported by contracts with 24-hour emergency veterinary services and external support for some spay/neuter and general medicine. The person hired for this will be joining a compassionate and dedicated team that is helping increase lifesaving for shelter animals and providing services to low-income pet guardians when possible, to help keep animals with their families. 

As a pilot shelter in the Human Animal Social Services (HASS) program, OAS has introduced equity focused shelter-intake and community-serving programs, such as providing access to veterinary care. Through a recent grant, OAS is creating a voucher program to partner with local vet clinics to assist owned animals with urgent needs. Through support from Friends of Oakland Animal Services (FOAS), OAS has created an Outcome Team, made up of the Foster, Adoption, Transfer and Behavior Coordinators, to focus on hard-to-place animals and reduce length of stay, resulting in a greater than 90% live release rate for shelter animals.

The OAS Animal Control Officers (ACOs) significantly increased their capacity to investigate and prosecute animal cruelty cases. The veterinary team plays an integral role in supporting these investigations, as well as being supported by a contract vet who specializes in forensic medicine. At the same time, the ACOs focus much of their time connecting with pet guardians who need support. It’s an exciting time for OAS as we shift from a reactionary model to one that is community serving. The person hired for this position will play a key role in shaping OAS’s approach to access to care for low-income pet guardians, while helping build a sustainable veterinary program to support lifesaving for shelter animals. 

We are looking for someone who is:

  • Pragmatic and able to make the most of limited resources. You will need to evaluate treatment options and make effective diagnostic decisions in an environment with limited funding.
  • A skilled communicator that understands how to reach a variety of audiences. Oakland is a diverse community with many different stakeholder groups, you will interact with members of the public, volunteers, and other city employees in the course of work.  
  • Caring and compassionate with a positive attitude. You will handle and treat sick or injured animals, and support pet owners during both exciting and difficult times.
  • A strong problem solver. You will encounter unexpected or challenging situations that require you to work well under pressure and balance multiple priorities.

 To see the full job description for this position click here:
What you will typically be responsible for:

  • Performing surgical procedures including high volume spay/neuter. With approximately 80% of animals coming into the shelter intact, high volume spay/neuter is a large part of the job
  • Directing, coordinating, and performing the screening, diagnosis, and basic and emergency medical treatment of animals in the shelter
  • Performing medical rounds, prescribing treatments for, and making recommendations for disposition of shelter animals
  • Serving as a “resource person’” on whom others rely for advice       
  • Performing and directing staff to perform euthanasia of animals that are irremediably suffering from serious illness or severe injury, as necessary 

A few reasons you might love this job:

  • OAS helps the people and animals with the greatest needs in the Oakland community
  • You will see a wide range of medical issues and have the opportunity to develop a well-rounded set of skills 
  • Unlike private practice, veterinarians largely can do what they believe is best for the animal without interacting with guardians
  • There is a lot of opportunity to share ideas and help OAS evolve into a more progressive, community-serving organization
  • The people at OAS care deeply about the mission

A few challenges you might face in this job:

  • As an open admission shelter, OAS cannot control intake and many animals have behavioral or medical challenges
  • OAS often operates at full capacity, requiring our vets to balance priorities to address the needs for spay/neuter services, triaging urgent needs of incoming animals, and providing adequate care for shelter animals with general medical needs
  • OAS operates with very limited resources and less staffing than private clinics or nonprofit organizations
  • The veterinary team relies on far fewer diagnostic tools than would be utilized in private practice
  • The work is emotionally (and physically) challenging and requires the ability to set boundaries and find time for self-care

Competencies Required:

  • Empathy: Having compassion for animals and everyone you encounter in your work, treating them with kindness and respect

  • Decision-making:  Acting with confidence, making informed, rational decisions, and choosing the best course of action

  • Organizational Control:  Establishing medical standards and procedures to assure the maintenance of a healthy, safe and sanitary facility 

  • Problem Solving:  Analyzing situations and effectively developing solutions

  • Enthusiasm and Positivity: Keeping your passion and enthusiasm intact to counteract any challenges you may face in the role

  • Supervision:  Effectively directing and training staff, delegating work, and overseeing daily operations

  • Manual dexterity: Physically handling animals and being precise when treating injuries and performing surgery

  • Safety Focus:  Understanding and respecting animals’ boundaries, following safety procedures to help prevent injuries on the job

  • Adaptability:  Thinking on your feet and adapting to changing demands and shifting priorities. 

  • Communication:  Connecting with the animals you treat and communicating with people as accurately and comprehensively as possible

This is a public contact position. Although no current vacancies require a specific language, the eligible list may be used to fill future vacancies that may require bilingual skills.

The eligibility list established from this recruitment may be used to fill other vacancies that occur within the City, including full-time and permanent part-time positions, if applicable.

* Click on the link below to see a video on what it’s like to work for the City of Oakland!

Working for the City of Oakland 

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