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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

SpokAnimal to close East Central veterinary clinic

FILE – SpokAnimal veterinarian Cheryl Fite checks over a pug mix named Lily on Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2012. Facing difficult financial headwinds, SpokAnimal C.A.R.E. has announced plans to shut down its veterinary clinic in Spokane’s East Central neighborhood. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

During difficult financial times for the nonprofit organization, SpokAnimal C.A.R.E. has announced plans to shut down its veterinary clinic in Spokane’s East Central neighborhood.

SpokAnimal’s executive director, Dori Peck, said the clinic at 715 N. Crestline St. will close Friday, and the organization has yet to decide whether to lease out the space. She said she hopes to reopen the clinic at some point in the future.

“At this point, we have to regroup financially,” Peck said. “We’re not going bankrupt. We just need to refocus our efforts on the animal shelter.”

The shelter next door to the veterinary clinic is SpokAnimal’s primary line of business, Peck said. The organization handles nearly 3,000 adoptions a year and takes cats from the Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Agency when the SCRAPS shelter in Spokane Valley gets overcrowded, she said.

Peck said she didn’t think SCRAPS’ new veterinary clinic, which opened last month, had much of an effect on the influx of animals to the SpokAnimal clinic, which has been open to the public.

The SCRAPS clinic is expected to care for the nearly 10,000 animals housed at SCRAPS each year. SCRAPS previously sent animals to outside clinics for health care.

“We didn’t use SpokAnimal’s clinic all that much,” said Nancy Hill, SCRAPS’ outgoing director. “The numbers were nothing that would have caused the clinic to shut down.”

SpokAnimal’s clinic, called the Dorothy Clark Animal Center, opened in 2010 after SpokAnimal and the Spokane Humane Society split a $1.1 million gift from the estate of philanthropist Dorothy M. Clark.

Peck said the money was not earmarked for any particular purpose, and while some of SpokAnimal’s share was invested in an annuity plan, most of it has run out. She said the organization has received some relatively small, “very targeted” grants for spaying and neutering animals, but larger grants that would keep the clinic open “are really hard to get” because the area has mostly controlled its overpopulation problem.

She said the clinic had three veterinarians on staff and contracted with a fourth. It will keep one vet on staff to care for shelter animals, provide rabies vaccinations for those that get adopted and complete any spay or neuter appointments that are already scheduled.

Peck joined SpokAnimal in 2014 and became its executive director last December.

Federal tax filings show the organization took a major financial hit about five years ago, when it transitioned away from animal control and SCRAPS took over as the region’s provider of that service.

In 2013, the last year of SpokAnimal’s contract with the city of Spokane, the organization took in more than $2.5 million. The following year, revenues plunged by nearly half to about $1.3 million, and the organization spent $440,000 more than it took in.

SpokAnimal spent at a deficit again in 2015, but netted $126,000 in 2016, the last year for which tax filings were available.

Correction: This story was changed on Feb. 8, 2018. A previous version misstated when Dori Peck became SpokAnimal’s executive director.