Boca and Palm Beach county leaders and benefactors gathered under a tent for the big reveal of Tri-County Animal Rescue’s new animal hospital.
At least five years in the making, it took a $2 million gift to make the Lois Pope Pet Clinic a reality, board chair Sharon DiPietro told the crowd Wednesday.
The no-kill animal shelter and rescue received the clinic’s certificate of occupancy and opened three weeks ago, she said.
That’s part of a multi-million capital campaign to build adoption centers, isolation areas, an agility course and mausoleum among new facilities on the Boca Rio Road campus.
Co-founder and executive director Suzi Goldsmith introduced Pope to a standing ovation.
“The health care crisis isn’t just about humans,” Pope said.
People who can’t afford them abandon their pets and 3 million are put to death, she said.
“I knew I could make a difference. They get the best care here,” she said, adding American Humane donated the MRI.
In July, the clinic will start accepting pets from owners who can’t afford a vet for medical and dental care, with proof of income, according to the shelter.
“It says a lot about the community we’re protecting our own pets,” said supporter Dave Aronberg, the county’s state attorney, who prosecutes animal cruelty cases. He was among the elected officials who spoke.
“The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated,” said emcee Neil Saffer, quoting Mahatma Gandhi.
Among longtime supporters and benefactors were Christine E. Lynn, Marta Batmasian, Andrea Kline and Mildred Stein.
“My dog needed to go to a hospital and the nearest one was in Palm Beach,” Stein, a board member, told Boca Voice about why she got involved years ago.
“Now the animals have a beautiful facility and the community has a beautiful facility. There’s so many animals to be saved,” said board member and Saks Fifth Avenue v.p. Heather Shaw Fairs.
In other Tri-County news, a pet adoption is set for the Boca Center’s Sip & Shop from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Tri-County will bring puppies and dogs recently rescued from the Midwest’s weather crises to Scout & Molly’s, En Vogue and Coton Frais. A portion of sales will also be donated to Tri-County. The center is on Military Trail north of Palmetto Park Road.
By Marci Shatzman