Pet support nonprofit Valley Humane Society celebrated a truly monumental accomplishment earlier this spring -- the ceremonial grand-opening of its Phil Scholz Veterinary Surgery Center in downtown Pleasanton.
The facility, located at 120 Spring St., focuses now on high-volume spay and neuter services for shelters, rescue groups and the public, and soon will add one-time, non-emergency surgeries through a vet referral program for pet owners facing financial challenges.
"A dream come true," Melanie Sadek, president of Valley Humane Society, told me by email after the May 6 opening event.
The staff of one veterinarian, two registered vet techs and two vet assistants, with support from a team of volunteers, has been performing surgeries for Valley Humane Society for two years in space the nonprofit leased from East Bay SPCA, Sadek said. They're performing 40 spay/neuter surgeries per day, and once fully operational, the center aims to complete more than 6,000 surgeries per year.
Since its soft opening earlier this year, the center has already performed surgeries for groups like Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter, San Jose Animal Services, Contra Costa Animal Services and East County Animal Services.
"Why is this making an impact? California law requires all dogs and cats to be fixed before they can be adopted," Sadek said.
The new center "helps relieve overcrowding in our Bay Area shelter system," she added. "There is no reason for adoptable cats and dogs to sit in rescues or shelters simply because they need surgery. In addition, helping the public makes a significant impact by reducing the number of unwanted litters being produced annually."
The fact Valley Humane Society is also offering spay and neuter services to the public will alleviate regional burden as well, since many programs currently have months-long waitlists.
And down the line, the non-emergency surgery referral program for low-income clients (once fully realized) will help ease impacts on shelters, reduce euthanizations, and uplift pets and their human companions, according to Sadek.
"At Valley Humane, we regularly see amazing dogs and cats who need a single surgery to improve their life," she said. "We believe these animals were surrendered because it was their owner's only option to help their beloved pet. Loved animals shouldn't be in our sheltering system."
The nearly $2 million project included significant funding from Nvidia, the tech company and employer of late Pleasanton resident and pet lover Phil Scholz for whom the shelter is named. Scholz died in 2014 after he was struck by a commuter train in Santa Clara while trying to help a stranger who'd jumped on the tracks in a suicide attempt.
His widow Emily Scholz, who now works as adoption and foster manager for Valley Humane Society, stood next to Sadek and cut the ceremonial ribbon with giant scissors at the grand-opening event.