One of the oldest veterinary hospitals in Oakland has suddenly shut its doors and left thousands of pets without their doctors or medical records. No one could track down the owner until 7 On Your Side investigated.
It was a huge shock, then a mystery, then a little panic set in. Owners didn't know how to continue treatments or when to get vaccinations for their pets. So we set out to find the owner and unlock those important medical files.
"Fillmore" is a rambunctious English Spaniel, playing hard and leaping into bushes, just to get a ball.
"She's just kind of accident prone I guess is what you might say," said pet owner Casey Dillon.
Dillon says Fillmore has gotten into plenty of scrapes.
"She broke one of her canine teeth, so she had to have a root canal. She ate something she shouldn't have and it was stuck in her stomach. She's been under anesthesia at least five times, maybe six," said Dillon.
Every time Fillmore got hurt she'd get patched up at the Lake Veterinary Hospital in Oakland. That is, until now.
"It's kind of just... poof, gone," said Dillon.
It happened out of the blue. One day animals were being treated, and the next day the hospital was bolted shut, gone after 40 years in Oakland.
"Are they out of business? Wow, they've been here a long time," said the UPS driver.
It came as a shock to folks in the streets. And left hundreds of animals without their doctors.
"Oh, I was totally mortified," said Dena Cruz of Hayward.
Cruz and her dog "Sophie" found the hospital boarded up with vital medical records inside.
"All of her files, her vaccination records. It's really hard. I mean there's so many things that have happened over the years," said Cruz.
Sophie is 15 years old with plenty of medical problems. A new veterinarian will need those records.
Dillon and Cruz desperately needed those records.
"There's X-rays of her insides, of various surgeries that she's had," said Dillon.
Hundreds of other Lake Hospital customers also want the medical records of their pets. Many people posted complaints on Yelp wondering what happened.
"I thought that 7 On Your Side might be able to shine a light on it because I'm sure I was not the only one in this predicament," said Cruz.
Cruz contacted us and so did Dillon. We tracked down Lake Hospital owner Rita Monser in Livermore. She did not agree to an on-camera interview, but spoke with us by phone.
Monser would not tell us why the hospital closed, but says she hopes to re-open it. She could not say when. Monser saids she is trying to copy patient records, but the process is slow.
Monser told us, "There are thousands of clients and some of the records are very long, with multiple pages. Copying each client's records is time consuming and costly but I am working to get them all completed."
Monser agreed to send the records out right away to those who contacted 7 On Your Side. Sure enough, within days of our calls both Dillon and Cruz received their files.
"It was a great relief," said Dillon.
"I'm busting. Yes, that's awesome," said Cruz.
We checked with the state veterinary board and found the hospital's license expired in May and was not renewed.
Customers who want to get their pet's medical records from The Lake Veterinary Hospital should contact the owner, Rita Monser, at this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org