I was deeply saddened by the closing of CARE and disappointed by the way the facility has been represented by The Independent [“Closing CARE,” 12/24/09].

Not only did CARE provide 24-hour care, but it also contributed to the Santa Barbara community in many other ways. The Buddy Fund gave financial assistance to those pet owners who could not afford to pay for veterinary services. The Shiva Foundation offered pet loss support for an overwhelming amount of people for whom the death of their animal companions is devastating and lonely.

As a volunteer for Wildlife Care, I’m very aware that it was CARE that gave the animals a place to go for medical help. Santa Barbara wildlife has returned to the wild and been given that second chance on life because of what CARE did.

During the Tea Fire it was CARE who opened its facility to displaced animals, provided medical emergency care for burned animals, and participated in the search to find those frightened owners and pets who became lost from each in the disaster.

I have personally used their facility on numerous and occasions and was always given professional, courteous, and informative service by all the staff.

All this aside, I have to ask the big question: Why didn’t Dr. Wright get board certified? I don’t get it. From what I understand, he certainly had ample time to do so. In any profession (especially medical), getting certified is not something that someone puts off for any reason.

I very much thank San Roque Pet Hospital for offering 24-hour care for pets [“Temporary Solution to After-Hours Pet Care,” 12/31/09, independent.com/247now]. But CARE was so much more than that. – Cris Smith

* * *

My husband and I spent eight hours Saturday in the Ventura Emergency Animal Hospital. Like the other Santa Barbara residents we encountered there, we had no alternative. Our elkhound, Joey, received the care he required, and we are grateful. So did the yellow lab that had eaten her caregiver’s medication. Fortunately, these two animals survived.

But what of those that did not survive nor will in the future? Those beloved animals that will not last the 45-minute drive to Ventura? Or whose caregivers don’t have access to a vehicle and are left with nowhere to turn?

I hope that the plaintiff in the lawsuit against the two CARE veterinarians is pleased with the court’s decision. But the consequences of his settlement will be borne by others beyond the two defendants. There are those 60 employees out of work-two days before Christmas. There are the animals that will die needlessly for lack of an emergency care facility.

We are saddened to learn of CARE Hospital’s closure. These two women were excellent veterinarians. Eric Wright garners my vote as Santa Barbara Grinch of the Year. – Celeste Barber


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