Northside SF  

San Francisco SPCA’s new animal care center arrives just in time
By Jan McHugh-Smith, president of The SF/SPCA

San Francisco animals and their guardians have something to smile – and wag – about. The SF/SPCA is smiling too.

On Jan. 30, 2009, The SF/SPCA officially opened the Leanne B. Roberts Animal Care Center, the largest veterinary center in the world associated with an animal welfare organization. It is magnificent – come see for yourself – but what is really impressive is the number of animals our team of veterinarians will be able to care for in the new nonprofit center. That includes pets whose guardians can afford our high-quality care as well as those who need financial assistance.
The SF/SPCA has provided veterinary services for decades. In fact, through donations we subsidize approximately $1.5 million in charitable, financial assistance to the public and in medical care to animals without guardians. This is a critical piece of our mission to save and protect animals, and the Leanne Roberts Center dramatically increases our ability to deliver the same quality of service and compassionate care to more animals than ever before – with and without homes.
Animals like Diana, a cat from Elko, Nev., whose tail was so badly damaged that it had “died” and the local shelter could not afford to perform the surgery she needed. Facing euthanasia, Diana was rescued through our LifeLinks program, which teams up with other shelters to save as many lives as possible. We performed the life-saving surgery and then found Diana a loving home.
Unfortunately, there are more and more Dianas in the current economic climate. People – and their animals – are increasingly losing their homes, and more veterinary care is postponed as jobs are lost and family budgets shrink.
That’s why we provide financial assistance for qualifying guardians, and we spay/neuter the pets of seniors and homeless people for free. In fact, we aim to spay/neuter 12,000 cats and dogs in 2009 in the center’s Spay/Neuter Clinic – that’s nearly twice the number of pets as in years past.
But we can only accomplish these charitable goals with your help. Here are some of the ways you can support The SF/SPCA’s charitable mission:

  • Bring in your pet to the new Animal Care Center! You and your cat or dog will be wowed by the state-of-the-art facility, including many touches to make the experience as stress-free as possible. We offer everything you’d expect from a primary care hospital, from routine checkups to vaccinations and prescriptions to common surgeries and emergency care (during working hours). You’ll be grateful for the care and you’ll know your patronage extends that same care to homeless animals and pets whose guardians need help affording our services.
  • Donate! We’re in the final stage of our capital campaign to pay for the hospital, 84 percent of which has been funded by private donors. The SF/SPCA receives no funding from governments or national groups, including the ASPCA or Humane Society. We rely on private donations alone.
  • Volunteer! Whether it’s the center’s Spay/Neuter Clinic, Shelter Medicine Department or Feral Cat Program, we always need dedicated volunteers to assist our staff with caring for animals. It’s an incredibly rewarding experience — and critical to our animals.
  • Foster an animal! The center also houses our Foster Care Department, which teams up with volunteers to look after cats and dogs who aren’t recovered enough or ready for adoption. The time they spend with a loving family in between is both comforting and critical for their smooth transition into a permanent home.
  • Just come for a visit! The center is an enormous improvement over our previous facility, which was too small and outdated to keep up with the level of care we were ready to provide. Fortunately, Leanne B. Roberts and our board of directors had the vision and dedication to make the new center a reality.

Mrs. Leanne Roberts was a remarkable woman who had a deep love for animals and who provided the lead gift to begin this project. As a member of our board for many years, she was dedicated to the creation of a new animal care center that would provide leading-edge veterinary medical care to all companion animals in need.

   Sadly, Mrs. Roberts did not live to see her vision unfold, but her family took up her dream and helped us move forward with it. We’re honored to name the unique center after such a unique woman.

   And we’re honored to work with our fellow animal lovers to make this nonprofit veterinary center yet another example of how San Francisco – named after the patron saint of animals – is unrivaled in providing care that makes the difference between neglect and nurturing, hurting and health, loneliness and a loving home.
   We hope to see you soon!

   The Leanne B. Roberts Animal Care Center: 201 Alabama Street; 8 a.m.–6 p.m. daily (except public holidays). To schedule a guided tour, call 415-522-3543. For information about spay/neuter discounts, hospital services or events, call 415-554-3000. To learn more about supporting the capital campaign, contact Tina Ahn, development director, at 415-554-3025 or

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