Armen Torea and his dog, Memory, have lived in Desert Hot Springs for about five years.
But right when they finally settled into their new home in 2018, the city’s only animal hospital closed its doors, leaving them with only one option.
“We have to drive pretty far,” Torea said. “Whether it’s Palm Springs, Yucca, Banning… it’s quite a distance and it’s hard to sometimes get an appointment with the waiting time.”
And they’re not alone.
“I take him where I can,” Pet Owner Dennis Veldof shared. “Sometimes it’s in Indio but it all depends on how I’m gonna get there. I don’t have a vehicle at the moment so taking him anywhere with me is like, I have to arrange a ride.”
But now, that is all going to change.
“The city is now the owner of both the animal hospital located on Palm Drive, and the current animal sanctuary, which will be transitioning over to an extension of our Animal Care and Control on January 2,” Desert Hot Springs Deputy City Manager Doria Wilms explained. “We are the proud owners of both of those facilities and really excited to activate both of them.”
Thanks to a donation from the Humane Society of the Desert, the city’s animal care services will expand dramatically.
This includes medical and rehab care, emergency services and routine check ups, something the city has been working to establish for years.
“Between the animal hospital and the sanctuary, we’re really looking forward to doing some really intensive spay and neuter clinics, vaccination clinics, adoption clinics and really kind of taking this, from a bigger picture, molding it together with education to the community and really providing these robust animal services to the to the residents,” Wilms said.
This addition to the community is bringing relief not only to owners, but also their furry friends.
“I’m excited, I really am,” Veldof continued. “I get to be able to take him when he needs to go and not just be putting it off.”
“It’s beautiful, beautiful, very necessary,” Torea shared. “It’s about time.”
The city is now working on finding a qualified organization to take over the hospital and provide services.
Once that’s done, they hope to open its doors by the end of March 2024.
To stay updated on when an operator is identified and when appointments will become available, download the city’s app, follow their social media pages, or visit their website.