San Francisco SPCA Opens $29 Million Vet Hospital


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Leanne Roberts Center treatment room

The San Francisco SPCA will celebrate the opening of the Leanne B. Roberts Animal Care Center with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Jan. 30. A public open house will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 31, complete with tours, children's activities and a cat claw-clipping clinic. Dogs and cats will be available for adoption.

The $29 million, 44,000-square-foot center is the new home of The SF/SPCA’s nonprofit veterinary hospital, spay/neuter clinic and shelter medicine program. The previous 10,000-square-foot medical facility, built in 1932, became too small and inadequate for the levels of care the organization was prepared to provide.

The new center has significantly more space for examination rooms, surgery suites, laboratories, quarantine and intensive care wards. It also has:

  • A dedicated dentistry suite.
  • A tranquility room dedicated for euthanasia.
  • A large staff lounge.
  • A kibble kitchen containing dry food for dogs and cats, courtesy of Purina.
  • Separate areas for feral cats and shelter animals to create a more stress-free environment.
  • A small pet store.

In addition, the facility has upgraded much of its equipment. For example, The SF/SPCA has transitioned to digital radiography and digital record keeping, incorporated better and brighter light fixtures, and installed several elevating exam tables.

John Aldridge, DVM, director of veterinary services, who has been with The SF/SPCA since 1976, said the new facility "is really a dream come true, allowing us veterinarians to practice medicine as we want.

"We have top-notch surgical lighting ... things that we thought were going to be good are even better," said Dr. Aldridge, vice president of the San Francisco Veterinary Medical Assn. "But the real benefit is to see how we can further help animals.”

The hospital will offer competitive rates for routine checkups, vaccinations and prescriptions, spay/neuter procedures, common surgeries and emergency care during normal working hours (8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily). It will continue to provide free care to homeless and shelter animals and will work with qualified, low-income guardians to ensure that their cats and dogs receive necessary care.

With the new amenities, The SF/SPCA plans to perform 12,000 spay/neuter procedures in 2009, nearly twice the number performed annually in past years. The SF/SPCA aims to meet this milestone by offering discounted services to rescue groups and expanding service to pets outside of San Francisco.

“Spay/neuter services and veterinary care have always been critical pieces of our efforts to save and protect lives,” said Jan McHugh-Smith, president of The SF/SPCA. “But there are always more animals in need. Our new veterinary hospital enables us to provide high-quality, compassionate care not just for cats and dogs whose guardians can afford it but also for homeless animals and for guardians who need financial assistance. That is the mission of The/SPCA, and it is the vision of the Roberts family, who played an invaluable role in making this gift to the community a reality.”

The hospital is named for the late Leanne B. Roberts, a former SF/SPCA Board member. Her son, Eric Bovet Roberts, is a current board member, and the family donated $18 million to the hospital's construction.

Seventy-three percent of the center’s costs have been raised through private donations like the Roberts'. The SF/SPCA is aiming for an additional $7.9 million in philanthropic support to finalize the building’s capital campaign.

Kiska Icard, marketing and communications director of The SF/SPCA, said the center not only stands for animals but inspires people, which in the end can only help more animals.
 
“It’s also wonderful to see shelter medicine elevated,” Icard said.

The SF/SPCA, founded in 1868, each year provides about $1.5 million in charitable veterinary services to nearly 30,000 cats and dogs with and without homes.

Click here for open house and donation details.

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