San Diego Humane Society unveils new medical facility - The CW San Diego - News 8

San Diego Humane Society unveils new medical facility

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SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) — The San Diego Humane Society unveiled its newest addition on Tuesday: an on-site hospital unlike any other in the state.

The new facility will allow the Humane Society to help a lot of animals by being able to perform several surgeries in one place. 

Three-year-old Chico is one of the animals that has been through a lot over the past few weeks "Chico is a wonderful dog,” said hospital director Audra Hanthorn. “He came to us because his owners couldn't afford care.”

When he arrived at the San Diego Humane Society, Chico had a broken leg - something doctors took care of. "We were able to do a procedure here to save his leg,” said Hanthorn.

The procedure happened thanks in part to a new facility three years in the making: the Pilar and Chuck Bahde Center for Shelter Medicine.

"Having a hospital that can actually do what we need a major medical center to do is groundbreaking,” said Humane Society CEO Gary Weitzman.

On Tuesday, dozens gathered for a special ceremony followed by a tour of the $1.8-million project, which was recognized for its numerous capabilities not usually seen at other shelters.

"We'll be able to do more orthopedic procedures, at the same time we're doing spays and neuters, at the same time we're doing dental, whereas right now, we're limited based on space,” Hanthorn said.

That equates to 20 surgeries at once at an average of 1,000 animals per week.

The city of San Diego also proclaimed it Pet Wellness Day at Tuesday’s ceremony, where Weitzman was joined by city representatives, Humane Society department directors and Assemblyman Todd Gloria, D-San Diego.

"I think every San Diegan takes pride in the fact that we have a progressive Humane Society here that treats animals with incredible respect in a beautiful environment, made better now because of this investment by the Bahde family that really makes sure that the animals here are not just sheltered but extremely well cared-for," Gloria said.

Hanthorn said the center will also serve as a teaching hospital for veterinarian students. Currently, there are four interns plus externs from all over the country.

"Based on that, we are able to teach so many other people about shelter medicine and what it is,” said Hanthorn.

For Chico, the facility has been both a life saver and the start of a new life all together.

"He's doing really well in our care and we expect him to be fully functional in a few weeks and ready to meet his new family,” Hanthorn said.

The center is expected to help the Humane Society care for the roughly 40,000 animals it serves each year throughout San Diego County. On July 1, the organization expanded services to Carlsbad, Del Mar, Encinitas, Santee and Solana Beach.

News 8’s Shawn Styles also checked out the Humane Society’s new digs. See more below.

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