Northside SF  

Animal’s win with new health care center
By Cindy Beckman

Just 16 months ago, The SF/SPCA held a groundbreaking ceremony for their new Leanne B. Roberts Animal Care Center. Completed on time and under budget, the building was officially dedicated at a grand opening ceremony on Friday, Jan. 30, 2009.

Located in a former warehouse, the 60,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art veterinary facility provides both a shelter medicine department and a primary care hospital open to the public. The project was largely funded by a $13 million foundational gift from the estate of its namesake. Combined with additional donations from the Roberts family, it constituted the largest single gift ever received by The SF/SPCA.

The new Animal Care Center is accessed from Alabama Street, through a dramatic new entry garden that connects the building with Maddie’s Adoption Center (which retains its entrance on Florida Street). The corner façade of the building has an appropriately unique mural made from red heart-shaped dog tags.
Off the main entrance lobby are public entrances to the facility’s four program areas: the Veterinary Hospital, the Spay/Neuter Clinic, the Feral Cat Assistance Program, and the Foster Care Department.
The veterinary hospital will offer routine care, common surgeries and emergency care from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. The 17 modern exam rooms are arranged around a spacious waiting area, and a satellite store from Babies will pamper pets while waiting for their appointments.
Four modern surgery rooms can each accommodate two animals at a time. Two rooms are provided adjacent to the primary care treatment area. The third is used exclusively by the Spay/Neuter Clinic and has its own surgery prep and recovery area. The fourth is dedicated for use by the Feral Cat Assistance Program.
Additional critical care, intensive care, isolation, and quarantine wards will give the Animal Care Center treatment options that will help save many more lives.
Staff and volunteers of the Feral Cat Assistance Program are ecstatic over their new department. A separate entrance and an isolated treatment and recovery area are provided for feral cats being processed in the TNR (trap-neuter-return) program. This will keep them medically separated from the general shelter population and public clients, which was not possible in the old hospital.
In the Spay/Neuter Clinic, 30 to 40 surgeries can be scheduled each day. The new clinic is planning on providing 12,000 spay/neuter procedures in 2009 – over twice the number the veterinary department has been able to complete in recent years. This will be possible because the expanded facilities allow The SF/SPCA to offer discounted spay/neuter services to many local animal welfare groups. Sherri Franklin of Muttville, a rescue group that focuses on older dogs, is grateful to The SF/SPCA for reaching out to their fellow animal advocates.
“The SF/SPCA is one of many groups focused on animal welfare in the Bay Area, but they are uniquely positioned in our community to have a great impact on the health and well-being of our animals, including reducing the number of unwanted puppies and kittens,” Franklin noted.
Shelter pets will now be able to receive the highest quality preventative and primary health care available, and are sharing their good fortune with those who already have loving homes. The new Leanne B. Roberts Animal Care Center is definitely a win-win for all San Francisco pets.


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