The closure of Noah’s Ark Animal Hospital leaves mixed feelings

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) – The Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary is making some changes. His veterinary hospital will be closed for the unforeseen future.

Now, former employees, owners and veterinarians are speaking out about what this closure means for the community.

The Noah’s Ark board was in the process of restructuring the veterinary hospital to better serve its visitors, but a staff change hastened the process, leaving many questions unanswered.

“I don’t know what’s happening or why it’s happening, so it’s time to find out, I guess,” said Teresa Schecker, associate veterinarian.

The question on the minds of many former Noah’s Ark employees is “Why?”. They received this message on Tuesday morning letting them know that they were no longer needed at work.

Employees of Noah’s Ark Animal Hospital out of work after the facility closed.(WIFR)

“The entire staff was escorted out of the building by two board members and Stephanie and their reason was that we are suspending operations at the hospital,” Schecker said.

But executive director Stephanie Lauer says she was forced to make the decision after two vets quit.

“Right now we’re closed because we don’t have vet staff, obviously if we don’t have vets we have to lay off our support staff as well,” Lauer said.

The controversy began after Noah’s Ark board members decided to restructure the hospital to better serve disadvantaged families in the state.

Some sanctuary vets also wanted their voices heard. They felt they had been treated unfairly.

“It’s like why are we being treated this way, Dr. Fluegel and I had talked and decided we were going to quit,” Schecker said.

This resignation led to the closure of the hospital.

“We expected the transition to be a bit slower – it’s not – so now we’re closed until we can figure it out,” Lauer said.

Lauer apologizes to all patrons of the establishment for the inconvenience. In the meantime, she says, each animal will receive care at surrounding veterinary hospitals.

She doesn’t have an exact opening date, but she hopes to open the new and improved animal hospital by the end of this year.

“I’ll take some time to figure out what’s going on even now, so in dealing with this whole mess, my main concern is how our clients will get their records and establish care somewhere,” Schecker said.

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Benjamin M. Yerger