A local veterinary doctor said she hopes to open a "Vet Emergency Center" on Dowd Avenue by the fall.
Dr. Shannon Bertolino of Canton, along with her husband Vincent, were granted special exception from the Canton Zoning Commission Wednesday night to open the facility at 135 Dowd Ave. at the former child-care center, most recently operated as KinderCare.
The Bertolinos said the facility would be a no appointment necessary center for sudden trauma. Care would be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week but primarily be utilized evenings and weekends, when normal vet offices are closed.
Shannon Bertolino told the commission that the facility will not board pets, house any permanently or perform routine care. Most pets taken in would also be transferred to a person's regular vet once that office is open, she added.
During the public hearing for the application, Beverly LaPlume, Animal Control Officer for Avon and Canton, said that while there is a facility on Waterville Road in Avon, it would be great to have one in Canton to care for animals that are injured nights and weekends. Many, for example, are hit by cars on weekends, she said.
"We’ve lost a lot of dogs because time is of the essence when they’re hit," she said. "There's been many dogs I know could make it if we had a facility like this."
Two other speakers also spoke in favor of the application.
With the approval, the Bertolinos said they plan to buy the building and fix it up. They also told the commission they had no problem with rectifying some issues such as re-grading the rear parking lot so runoff water does not spill into Canton Springs Road. In addition, they agreed to move back the fencing that runs along Dowd Avenue and Canton springs road.
Last year the town, upon an agreement with the owner, cut down the hedges along the fencing after area residents raised concerns about sightlines at the intersection. While police have further safety concerns in the area, such as the amount of traffic that cues up as cars are waiting to turn on to Route 44 at the green, moving or removing the fencing as a condition was suggested by Town Planner Neil Pade as a way to further improve the visibility.
Shannon Bertolino said the goal is to open by fall. The business would be staffed, especially during the hours most vet offices are closed so people with injured pets could come right to the facility. She said she will likely employ about six people.
Shannon Bertolino said she has been certified since 2003 and worked several years for Star Meadow Animal Clinic in Farmington and has worked part time for several others in the area.
She stressed that she plans to work closely with area vets and will offer a different service — the emergency care.
"I have a special passion for emergency care," she said. "I'm at a point in my life where I am able to do this, personally."