Vet hospital in Oakland hills abruptly closes

James O’Dowd brought his dog Bella to Montclair Veterinary Hospital in the Oakland hills for a pesky problem.

"Tick removal - can’t get it out," O'Dowd said. 

Problem is, the vet hospital suddenly closed on Friday, with no advance notice. 

O'Dowd said he was "Shocked and surprised" and wasn't sure where he and Bella would go instead. "I’m gonna walk down there and see what’s going on." 

Some -  but not all customers got an email from the vet about the closure Friday. Employees were told they were out of a job.

"I think everybody got blindsided," said Christina Pali. "There’s no winner here."

Pali had paid a $750 deposit for surgery for her chocolate Lab "Lulu" for a tumor removal.

"It’s a little disappointing. If they had known this was brewing, it would have been nice for them to give us a heads up, so we wouldn’t continue to book and rely on something as important as removal of a cancerous lump," Pali said.

Kerry Becklund said she and her family are concerned not only for their dog Posey's care but for the workers  who had persevered through the pandemic despite a staffing shortage. 

"They need to pay their rent. And they need to buy groceries. How could they do this to them?" Becklund asked.

She added, "Just to have the rug pulled out from under them, and it’s just, you know, it’s infuriating, and it’s heartbreaking and I’m sorry for our community." 

Gary Richter had owned the clinic until selling it four years ago to Pathway, now known as Thrive Pet Healthcare, based in Texas.

"I have no knowledge of what their finances are, and I also have no knowledge of what was the motivation behind closing the hospital," Richter said.

"I hope that there is a way that Montclair Veterinary Hospital can continue to exist and continue to serve the community,." Richter said.

Thrive Pet Healthcare said its decision to shutter the clinic was "not made lightly."

In a statement, the company said in part, "Despite our efforts to support the practice through the investment in people, training and technology for the last several years, continuing to operate the practice was no longer sustainable."

On its website and on signs placed on the window, the clinic said it was recommending that pets' care be transferred to Kensington Veterinary Hospital, Park Animal Hospital in San Francisco or Especially Cats Veterinary Hospital in San Francisco.

The clinic said it would be "happy to provide" pets' medical records to other practices and asked pet owners to email