New veterinary emergency nonprofit would offer overnight hours
If a Rochester pet owner has an emergency, the closest option after hours is in Buffalo or Syracuse. You can imagine how much this scares pet owners.
Three local veterinarians say they want to put an end to this stress. The doctors want to bring back 24-hour care, as the region faces a shortage of options.
On Nov. 27, the region’s only emergency vet clinic closes for good. Veterinary Specialists & Emergency Services in Brighton cut back hours and overnights over the summer. Administration said it was due to staffing shortages.
For this new clinic, organizers say the plan is be called Rochester Emergency Veterinary Services, and launch as a nonprofit in January 2024.
Board member Dr. Brenda Buck currently runs Animal Hospital of Rochester on University Avenue. She helped launch the nonprofit, which will run out of the University space in the interim. The hope is to move into a new space after growing.
Buck said she’s known the other two veterinarians behind it for years.
Buck says community support will be huge in making this project work, and they need the public’s help.
They are officially nonprofit in status, and are working towards their 501C3. Donations go straight to the clinic.
“Donations are going to be huge, community support is going to be huge for this,” said Buck. “I will still be doing my general practice work, occasionally overseeing hospitalized patients during the day. The goal is to see patients Monday through Friday during the week, have coverage on overnights, say 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. as far as receiving patients.”
She says pet owners are stressed; and driving to Syracuse or Buffalo for overnight emergency care can be a matter of life or death.
“It’s a scary thing, because our pet population is growing, exponentially, and our veterinary care population isn’t,” said Buck. “And so part of our goal is to put this back in the hands of a non-corporate entity, where we really have the ability to take care of our employees, and make them feel valued.”
The project is getting some help from Rep. Joe Morelle and Monroe County.
The full statement from Morelle’s office:
“Since the onset of this crisis, we’ve been actively seeking practical solutions to meet the needs of pet owners in our community. This includes addressing the issue faced by veterinary staff who were unfairly bound by non-compete clauses, imposed by a large corporation that bought and shut down local veterinary hospitals in an effort to dominate the market. My office successfully worked to eliminate these employment restrictions, and we are now collaborating with County Executive Adam Bello and local veterinarians to establish permanent emergency services and we anticipate sharing positive developments soon. Recognizing that pets are an integral part of our families, we are committed to ensuring they receive the necessary care and to preventing such unfortunate circumstances in the future.”