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Coastal Animal Hospital wins right to keep animals overnight

Coastal Animal Hospital, which opened in 2011, will be allowed to keep up to 15 animals with medical needs in kennels overnight.

By unanimously denying an appeal from a group called Leucadia Neighbors, the Encinitas City Council on Dec. 10 granted Coastal Animal Hospital a minor-use permit for boarding after hours. Hospital staff won’t be on hand at night, although they will monitor the animals via cameras and medical equipment.

Robert Aronin, representing Leucadia Neighbors, claimed it’s cruel to keep animals overnight without people there in the event their health goes south.

“This is about Encinitas and our core values,” Aronin said.

But veterinarian Brian Evans of Coastal Animal Hospital said there have been unattended overnight facilities in Encinitas for years. He added it’s another option for people who cannot afford to send their animal to a facility with staff providing around-the-clock care.

“Right now, if our clients cannot afford to transfer their pets, they are simply sent home without the care they need and often their pets’ health deteriorates rapidly,” Evans said.

Animals that stay overnight unattended are stable and often hooked up to an IV bag, he said.

Leucadia Neighbors sent out emails to the community to try and link the hospital’s overnight boarding plans to an Arizona facility where dogs were neglected, Evans said. He called this totally misleading and manipulative.

“Yes, you can find stories of things gone wrong in animal hospitals overnight, but just like there’s bad professionals in any field, it doesn’t mean it’s the norm or even common,” Evans said.

He added: “We’re a group of people that deeply love animals.”

During the public comments section, five speakers stated Coastal Animal Hospital is reputable with compassionate employees.

Resident Janet Lundquist said because the animal hospital took good care of her dogs, she has referred others there.

Others also criticized the emails from Leucadia Neighbors.

And the San Diego County Veterinary Medical Association wrote a letter in support of the animal hospital’s pursuit of the permit.

In opposing the plans, resident Lynn Marr said homes are nearby and she’s concerned the hospital lacks soundproofing. She added overnight boarding is an “intensification of use” on the property that isn’t allowed under permitting rules.

Evans responded the animal hospital hasn’t received any noise complaints in the past.

Councilman Tony Kranz said from personal experience, he knows how expensive 24-hour care facilities can be, adding he sees the need for unattended boarding.

Councilwoman Lisa Shaffer said the City Council isn’t in the position to deny the permit.

“I don’t think it’s for the City Council to tell people what care they can or can’t have, as long as you’re in the bounds of our zoning code and professional association that provides your license,” Shaffer said.

The council’s vote upheld an earlier Planning Commission decision.

Before the agenda item started, Aronin asked for a continuation to a later date because of a recent medical procedure that took away his hearing. However, the council declined because of scheduling challenges, and they said others from Leucadia Neighbors were present to argue the group’s side if need be.


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