SUNBURY, Pa. — Joel Williams of Herndon brought his dog Scooby to the Sunbury Animal Hospital for a routine visit. Scooby has been here before for an emergency.
"He got into a big trash pile. It was full of glass, and he cut his foot real bad. I couldn't get it to stop bleeding."
Scooby was stitched up and sent on his way.
"I was very grateful," Williams said. "We need something like that around here."
The Sunbury Animal Hospital is typically open to anyone for emergencies all day and night. But that won't be the case for much longer.
"We frankly don't have the help to do that. We're just not going to be able to be all things to all people, and we're going to make sure our existing clients and customers are looked after," said Dr. James Temple, one of nine veterinarians at the Sunbury Animal Hospital. "Four out of the five of us that are part-time are over 65."
Dr. Temple says there is a shortage of vets, so starting next month, the Sunbury Animal Hospital will only see current clients for emergencies. The office is also cutting back its emergency hours for current clients.
"We've tried to function as a full-service hospital, but again we're just not going to be able to."
Dr. Temple says the shortage of veterinarians is not only in this area; it's a big problem nationally. He hopes to bring back emergency services here on a full scale in the future if they can hire more staff.
"Our goal would be to do everything we want to do and everything we'd like to offer. We would be ten full-time and four or five part-time."
The reductions in service take effect on February 1 at the Sunbury Animal Hospital.
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