ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Efforts are underway to open a new nonprofit emergency veterinary hospital in Rochester, which would be the first of its kind for the area.
It comes as Veterinary Specialists and Emergency Services (VSES), the region’s only emergency facility in Brighton, announced plans to close on or before November 27.
A spokesperson from the parent company of VSES, Thrive Pet Healthcare, confirmed the facility will officially shut down in one week on Nov. 27.
Three local veterinarians are planning to bring extended services to Rochester by January, and are turning to the community to contribute so this type of care isn’t lost locally.
Dr. Brenda Buck owns Animal Hospital of Rochester on University Avenue. It’s where she, Dr. Dori Marion of Doorbell Vet, and Dr. Bruce Ingersoll of York Animal Hospital, plan to open Rochester Emergency Veterinary Services by January’s end.
“At the end of the summer, knowing VSES was going to close for good, it became a real big drive where a group of us started to talk, saying, ‘What can we do?’ Because the community just can’t be without overnight care,” said Dr. Buck.
In January 2022, VSES cut overnight hours over staff shortages. Back in August, hours were cut further, before Thrive Pet Healthcare announced the facility would close altogether by the end of November.
Dr. Buck says her team wants to keep the new practice on University Ave. community-centered. The team has applied for a 501c3 and is seeking donations toward the cause.
“We all know what happened when corporate took over VSES. They’d been there almost 30 years, and now, our community is stuck. One of the driving forces is we want to develop something that really takes care of our community, that can’t be taken over by corporate, and allows us to prioritize our staff, our patients, and our community,” said Dr. Buck, “In order to do this, we really do need the community’s support.”
With the nearest form of emergency vet care in Buffalo or Syracuse, Dr. Buck says they are actively hiring to begin local operations overnights and on weekends.
“Our goal initially is to meet the critical needs of patients that aren’t stable. We ask that people be patient with that. I know we’re going to be inundated and overwhelmed, but we’re going to work really hard to meet the needs of our clients and patients that need that help,” said Dr. Buck.
Rochester Emergency Veterinary Services has a fundraising goal of $200,000. Those interested in donating or learning more about the plans to open can visit their website.
News 8 has also compiled a list of the nearest places to seek emergency vet care, including local urgent care facilities. Click here for more details.