Animal Adoption Center on the move

By on July 30, 2014


Jackson Hole, Wyoming – A $1.5 million project to build a new Animal Adoption Center in Jackson will not increase the space available for orphaned cats and dogs. However, it will have unique access to two more beds for sick animals at a new Veterinary Clinic being built next door.

Dr. Heather Carleton, an Animal Adoption Center board member who once practiced at Spring Creek Animal Hospital, will open Jackson Animal Hospital at 274 Broadway, just east of the adoption center next spring. The next-door neighbors are in the final stages of approval and set to break ground on their separate but partnering facilities this summer.

While they are not associated financially, the nonprofit adoption center, which has been using Carleton as a vet for the last seven years, stands to gain a lot by having the new clinic next door.

“It’s a lot easier to give away services if you are working for yourself,” Carleton said. She is opening the new practice with Dr. Randy Acker, an orthopedic surgeon who also has a practice in Sun Valley, Idaho. Acker will be able to do orthopedic surgeries once a month and offer services “at cost or below cost.”

The clinic also is reaping the benefits of community generosity toward the adoption center, including a deal on the construction cost by On Site Management, Carleton said.

“We set up an LLC to purchase the land and bought it together,” Carleton said. “As soon as the building was demolished we separated the land.”

The LLC has since been closed and the two organizations are now separate entities. “So there is no conflict with the board,” she said.

Just a few blocks away from Spring Creek Animal Hospital, Jackson Animal Hospital will start small with just Carleton keeping regular office hours. The practice will have the ability to expand with two examination rooms.

Dr. Dan Forman, who owns Spring Creek, said Carleton’s departure two months ago to start her own practice was amicable.

“I certainly was a bit surprised,” Forman said. “But this is her journey and we wish her nothing but the best.” He replaced Carleton with Carla Baker, a vet who recently moved to Jackson after practicing at a military hospital in Germany.

The doctors all sat next to each other at the Animal Adoption Center’s fund-raiser last weekend, where Spring Creek bought a table.

“We continue to be supportive of the Animal Adoption Center,” Forman said.

Tom Patricelli, president and co-founder of the Animal Adoption Center, which opened its doors 10 years ago, said he hopes the building will be ready for pets next June. The center is now, and will continue to be, home for six to eight dogs and 12 to 15 cats at a time during the day. At night, volunteers foster them.

“We have the great foster network in the valley,” Patricelli said. “Literally hundreds of families.”

After its fund-raiser, the adoption center is more than 70 percent toward a goal of raising the $1.5 million to have a facility of their own for the first time. Being close to downtown, so foster families can easily walk animals, and not being “at risk of a real estate deal putting us out on the street,” were key in making the decision to create a home of their own for the animals, Patricelli said.

The Adoption Center has rescued more than 3,000 animals and spayed and neutered 4,500. Carleton, who has volunteered her time to go to Thailand for the past four years to help the Humane Society control the population of stray animals, started the adoption center’s mobile spay and neuter program five years ago and plans to continue to do both once she works out the schedule at her new practice.

“It is something I do because it is so inspiring to see the difference it makes,” she said. “And there are so few resources.”

Animal adoption nonprofits have a great challenge in caring for sick animals that have been abandoned, she said. “They do it, but it bankrupts them if they don’t have a partner.”


About Julie Fustanio Kling

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