Santa Cruz animal shelter closes its doors

February 26, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
The sudden closure of a budget-friendly animal clinic in Santa Cruz could have major ramifications for the city's animal shelters and private rescue centers, perhaps even the number of strays on the street. This is another affect of the down economy.

Abandoned animals pack Santa Cruz County's shelters. Pets are dropped off by owners who simply cannot afford them anymore.

Now the place many turned to for low cost animal care is closing.

"Yes we are all losing our jobs," said one employee to a customer.

Adobe Animal Hospital posted a sign Monday saying that on March 1, 2010 the 35 year old clinic closes for good.

While the owner was busy seeing last minute patients, his staffers blamed the shut down on the slow business. For many clients, taking their pet to the vet became an unaffordable luxury.

It's not just small animals that stopped coming here for treatment as often, large animals did too. This place used to be a favorite for horse owners but caring for horses is very expensive.

"Times are rough and we've had a large animal practice and a lot of people aren't keeping their horses anymore," said employee Lara Becker.

Friday, long-time customers filled the clinic to pick up their pets' records. One woman who has been going there for 25 years walked out in tears.

"Just the whole staff is wonderful. I hope they re-open," said Janet Sparks from Capitola.

Several non-profits also feel that way. Animal Shelter Relief Rescue brings all of its animals to Adobe to be spayed and neutered. The clinic charges half what others do.

"Having adobe not here is going to be a huge impact to us. It'll impact how many animals we can actually rescue," said Kristina Jones from Animal Shelter Relief Rescue.

Those at the SPCA are worried Adobe's closure will lead to more abandoned animals.

"A lot of animals are being surrendered because people can't afford to care for them and vet care is a huge part of that," said Sarah Eryavec from the SPCA.

Adobe hopes to open a mobile clinic, but no arrangements have been made.