www.montereycountyweekly.com April 4-10, 2024 MONTEREY COUNTY WEEKLY 11 After 90 years of operation, Los Coches Animal Hospital in Soledad closed effective Monday, April 1. Services for its customers and pet patients are continuing at its sister location, Romie Lane Pet Hospital, in Salinas. The closest veterinary options for Soledad residents are now either Salinas or King City, exacerbating an existing issue. “It was hard to get urgent care for our pets,” says Monica Andrade, a Soledad resident who has two dogs, three cats, a turtle and two goldfish. “We pretty much had to rely on services outside the city.” Los Coches had been in Soledad since 1959 and survived ownership changes, but didn’t survive a nationwide veterinarian shortage. “We have been recruiting for a full-time DVM for a few years now with no luck,” says Erin Askew, hospital manager at Los Coches. (Askew will move to Romie Lane, which is expanding its hours to 7am-6:30pm.) The recruitment challenge is not unique to Los Coches. Brynie Kaplan Dau, the veterinarian at Pacific Grove Animal Hospital, says she’s seeking a second veterinarian to join her practice. “It is really hard to find doctors,” she says. She adds that the cost of living makes it harder to hire from outside the area. Dau specializes in exotic and small pets. She has nearly 2,000 clients, averaging two or three pets each. “It’s a pretty big practice for just one doctor,” Dau says. The wait time to book a wellness exam is about one to two weeks. There is a shortage across all veterinarian specializations in the U.S. According to a 2022 analysis by Mars Veterinary Health Research, 55,000 additional vets for pets and small animals will be needed by 2030. The Los Coches closure will have more impacts on South County than just added pressure on veterinary practices and longer drive times. It also served as a temporary shelter for stray animals. “The Soledad Police Department is working on a temporary shelter so that animals don’t have to come up to us [on Highway 68 near Salinas] if they’re able to rehome them or find their owners quickly,” says Beth Brookhouser of SPCA Monterey County. Shelters are also affected by the veterinarian shortage. San Francisco SPCA conducted a statewide survey in 2023 and found that over 344,000 animals in California didn’t have adequate access to veterinary care. “Shelters are becoming overcrowded, illness is rising, and adoptable animals are being euthanized,” the report states. The local SPCA has three veterinarians, and the joint County of Monterey/ City of Salinas shelter, Hitchcock Road Animal Services, has one; it is currently seeking to fill a part-time position. The Hitchcock Road shelter receives about 4,000 animals annually. Currently, it is at 113 percent of capacity for dogs (with 74) and at 18 percent capacity for cats (with nine). SPCA will increase its mobile clinic services in Soledad for spay/neuter procedures, “in solidarity with Los Coches closed,” Brookhouser adds. “But we know this does leave a hole for the community, and it’s very sad.” Pet Rescue Los Coches Animal Hospital closes in Soledad, leaving fewer health options for pet owners. By Celia Jiménez A kitty at the SPCA Monterey County. The kitten population at local shelters is expected to increase seasonally starting in springtime. NEWS “This does leave a hole for the community, and it’s very sad.” DANIEL DREIFUSS THE PET ISSUE *APY =annual percentage yield. To earn 8.33% APY on the first $10,000 of balance for any monthly statement cycle, you must make at least 25 debit card purchases, have logged into MCU online banking at least once during the 90 days preceding the end of the statement cycle, and be enrolled in e-statements. Portion of the balance that exceeds $10,000 earns 8.33% to 0.18% APY. Fees may reduce earnings. Dividend rates and APYs are variable and may change after account opening. MCU may determine debit card purchase requirement is not met if cardholder manipulates transactions (for example by making multiple small dollar purchases at the same merchant on the same day) to meet eligibility requirements. Rates accurate as of 03/18/2024; subject to change without notice. **Member must not have had an MCU checking account in the previous 12 months or have previously received an incentive to open an MCU checking account. Member must meet eligibility requirements and enroll in MCU’s online banking and mobile deposit services. One per household, determined by residence address. $200 paid in the form of an MCU check that can only be deposited to an MCU account via mobile deposit. Not available on business accounts. Limited time offer; subject to change without notice. on the first $10,000 with our Wealth Builder Checking Account! And you may qualify for a $200** account opening bonus today! Visit a branch nearest you: Monterey . Salinas . Hollister Monday - Friday | 10:00 am to 5:00 pm or call us at 831.647.1000 www.montereycu.com VIDEO game ARCADE game repairs and mods used games and more ARCADE SHOP 2 PLAYER 398 FOAM ST. STE A, MONTEREY SAT/SUN 12-9 W-F 2-9 (831)324-0669 2playerarcade.com 2playerarcade