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County eyes vet hospital on Tucson's east side as potential PACC location
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County eyes vet hospital on Tucson's east side as potential PACC location

Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry recommended Friday that the Board of Supervisors approve the purchase of an eastside animal hospital to be used as a second Pima Animal Care Center Pet Support Center.

If approved, residents of Tucson’s east and southeast side would have a new option for low-cost vaccines, microchips and general pet support.

There’s been discussion for some time about opening another PACC facility to enhance service for the eastern portion of the county, Huckelberry wrote in the memo.

Tucson Small Animal Hospital, at the corner of East Broadway and South Kolb Road, has been in business as a private practice for several decades, but is now up for sale, the memo said.

The owner is willing to sell the property to the county for $500,000 — $50,000 less than its listed price — because of the clinic’s continued use for animal care services in the county. The property has been appraised at $575,000, the memo said.

In order to use the facility as a PACC, it’s estimated that modifications would cost $286,000.

The cost of purchasing the property and renovations will be paid for out of PACC’s remaining bonds, of which there are approximately $650,000. Any additional costs would be paid for by the county’s general fund, according to the memo.

The facility would offer low-cost vaccines, free or low-cost microchips and referrals for pet and owner support. The current Pet Support Center, which is at PACC’s main shelter on North Silverbell Road, would be moved to the east-side location, and PACC would hire three animal care technicians and one supervisor to provide in-person counseling and triage services for people facing the decision to surrender their pets, according to an attachment to the memo provided by PACC’s director, Kristen Hassen-Auerbach.

The staffers would be responsible for licensing, interfacility transport of pets and supplies, customer service, cleaning and other operational needs. The current Pet Support Coordinator would manage the program and relocate to the east-side facility. PACC will collaborate with community groups, including Dr. Kelly’s Mobile Vet, to offer free and low-cost spay and neuter surgeries and wellness services using existing funding, according to the memo.

The site would also be used for regular weekend adoption events, transporting pets in just for the day and not housing them overnight. PACC will also partner with local rescue groups who are looking for places to conduct adoptions, offering the location as a potential site, the memo said.

The east-side center will also be used as a substation for Animal Protection Services. Officers could be dispatched from there and could use the facility as a workstation, according to the memo.

PACC’s 15 APS officers are responsible for responding to complaints and emergency calls throughout all 9,000 square miles of Pima County. Last year, officers handled 26,325 calls, with up to 30 emergency calls per day, with each emergency sidelining an officer for more than an hour.

“I believe establishing such a facility will improve pet adoptions, licensing and significantly reduce enforcement response times, which will greatly improve community service,” Huckelberry said in the memo.

There is no date set yet for supervisors to vote on the purchase.

Contact reporter Caitlin Schmidt at cschmidt@tucson.com or 573-4191. Twitter: @caitlincschmidt

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