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Snake River Animal Shelter: Volunteer and Internship Opportunities

BYU-Idaho Radio · Snake River Animal Shelter: Volunteer and Internship Opportunities

The Snake River Animal Shelter is a nonprofit organization helping animals in Idaho Falls. Stephen Buzzell became the executive director in January. Before his time at the Snake River Animal Shelter, he worked at the Rexburg Animal Shelter since 2003.  

Buzzell said one of the biggest reasons he decided to work at the Snake River Animal Shelter is because they are a nonprofit versus a municipality. A municipally run animal shelter is a government operated, tax funded shelter. A nonprofit shelter relies on volunteers and donations.  

“That is a big difference from a municipality, where sometimes you might need to do some population control,” said Buzzell.  

The Snake River Animal Shelter not only is a no-kill facility, but they help encourage other shelters to become no-kill.  

“With the no-kill facility, we also work with other shelters to be towards no kill by allowing them options for some of the animals that are a little harder to place,” Buzzell said. “The nice thing about it is Snake River has trainers on staff, so sometimes they can work with animals that maybe need a little bit of correction but is more than what would have been done in a municipal shelter.”  

Buzzell said the Snake River Animal Shelter helps provide options to the other local shelters, such as taking in some of their owner surrendered animals if they do not have room. Since the Snake River Animal Shelter is a nonprofit, they pay for the facility and care for their animals through donations and fundraising. 

“[Municipal shelters] are paid for by the city and they are paid for by tax dollars, which helps so that their budget is something that they don’t have to fight for. Whereas with the nonprofit that Snake River is, we are literally fighting for every dollar that we get,” Buzzell said.  

When animals at the shelter need care, it is up to the Snake River Animal Shelter employees and volunteers to raise the funds. One of their annual fundraising events is the Fur Ball, an event where people can bid on auctioned items to raise money for the shelter. 

“There is a lot of interesting and fun things people can do to help, including volunteering or even internships,” Buzzell said.  

Volunteers at the shelter are typically responsible for taking care of all aspects of care for just a couple animals, Buzzell said. This limits the chances of exposure between the animals, including any spread of diseases and sickness between the animals. Buzzell also said the more volunteers who help out at the shelter, the more individual time each animal gets to play with the volunteers. To learn more about volunteer opportunities, visit

There are multiple internship opportunities available at the Snake River Animal Shelter. Buzzell said they are looking for students majoring in Animal Sciences, Communication, Small Business Management and more. To apply for an internship or learn more, you can contact Stephen Buzzell at or call (208)523-4219.