Nonprofit leasing former Allen Heights Veterinary Hospital
Berkshire Humane Society is taking appointments immediately for a wellness clinic the nonprofit organization is operating for underserved pets out of the former Allen Heights Veterinary Hospital at 298 Dalton Avenue in Pittsfield. Comprehensive health exams, vaccines and parasite monitoring and control services will be offered by appointment only. Berkshire County dog and cat owners can call 413-203-4330 now to schedule an appointment.
“We’re meeting a lot of needs by offering these services,” said John Perreault, Executive Director of Berkshire Humane Society. “This will help people who are having a hard time finding available or affordable veterinary care while helping local veterinarians who are struggling to keep up with the demand. It’ll also help keep pets happy and healthy and employ a few animal lovers” he said.
The pandemic resulted in increased demand for veterinary services as many people added new animals to their families. At the same time, the supply for services decreased as veterinary practices struggled with COVID mandates and retaining qualified staff. Some have limited their practice to existing patients, some have dropped patients who have not used their services recently and others, like Allen Heights Veterinary Services in July of 2022, closed altogether.
“Allen Heights’ closing left a hole in veterinary care in Pittsfield, said Perreault. “Especially for east-side residents. We saw an opportunity to help fill that hole and serve pet owners in Pittsfield and the Berkshires with accessible and affordable preventative pet care.” Fees for the clinic will be on a variable scale based on need. “Our nonprofit status and ability to leverage funds with grants and other partners will help keep costs down. Our mission is to keep companion animals in their homes and out of shelters, not to make money,” said Perreault.
Perreault consulted with local veterinarians before proposing the wellness clinic initiative. “We’re working with local veterinarians, not competing with them,” he said. “Every vet I talked to agreed that a need exists for timely pet care. Without it, dogs and cats are the ones who suffer when their people can’t find an appointment. And then the chance for more expensive veterinary bills increases. We’ll funnel clients to local veterinarians when they have space for new clients and when other services such as treating traumatic injuries or other medical procedures are needed. “Our wellness clinic will not be a place to go if your animal has an emergency, “Perrault added.
Although the turnkey veterinary facility will be open to the public by appointment for non-surgical services, Berkshire Humane Society will use the facility for in-house spaying and neutering of their shelter animals, reducing stress associated with time animals wait in the shelter for a spay or neuter appointment.
Berkshire Humane Society is leasing the facility from the former owners of Allen Heights Veterinary Hospital for a year, with an option to buy the building or renew the lease at the end of the lease. “We don’t know what the extended future holds for this facility,” said Perreault, “but we’d love to see it serve as a place where third-year veterinary students could rotate assignments between here and local veterinary practices. In that way we can recruit more veterinarians who choose to live and practice in the Berkshires.”