Last month, Dr. Chris Biggerstaff opened Santa Barbara’s newest veterinary clinic, Animal Medical Center (AMC), formerly ABC Veterinary. Biggerstaff has been a practicing vet for 25 years in Lancaster, California, and recently decided to extend his practice to Santa Barbara.
According to Biggerstaff, the greatest challenge thus far has been establishing AMC as different from its predecessor, ABC Veterinary. “We have a lot of hard work to do to reestablish trust in terms of great animal care here in Santa Barbara,” he said. “The old owners kind of let the place and the practice go. Clients were neglected. It’s about changing that perception in the community.”
In addition to AMC’s new name, new doctor, and new staff, the clinic has stressed its commitment to superior client and pet care. “We really just try to take care of the people, too, and that means making it affordable for our clients to take the best care of their pets,” Biggerstaff said. “We do not want our clients to spend thousands of dollars on their pet if the prognosis is still pretty bad.”
This approach to pet care, as well as Biggerstaff’s personal attention, has received positive reviews from new clients. Richard Baker was among the patrons displeased with the care of the former ABC Veterinary. However, according to Baker, Biggerstaff has already begun to “right the wrongs” of the previous owners.
After an unsatisfactory surgery that resulted in his cat contracting an infection, “The previous vet gave us some morphine and then pretty much sent Gilly [Baker’s cat] home to die,” Baker said. “Since then, Dr. Biggerstaff has helped him pull through, both treating his infection and even correcting the surgery. He even gave me his personal cell phone number and has been very responsive throughout Gilly’s recovery.”
In the same vein as many other small-business owners, Biggerstaff has employed social media to spread the word about his clinic. Thus far, he has posted YouTube videos of surgeries, as well as personal addresses to Santa Barbara pet owners, explaining his mission and philosophy as a veterinarian. Although business has been slow so far, Biggerstaff remains optimistic.
“This is such a dog-loving town,” he said. “I see people with dogs everywhere here. Since coming here, the reception has been great, and I look forward to working with more of these devoted pet owners.”
AMC is located on 335 South Salinas Street and will be offering $10 vaccines for all pets until May 31.