By Kyle LoJacono
Most people think of veterinary centers as treating cats, dogs and other traditional pets. But Suncoast Veterinary Care Center will aid almost anything.
“Our policy is that no one should be stuck having to handle an injured animal by themselves,” said Deborah Sullivan, veterinarian and owner of the center. “We stand by that. It doesn’t matter (if) it’s a standard pet or something a little more unusual, we’ll do everything we can to nurse it back to health.”
Sullivan has owned the center, located at 20319 SR 54 in Land O’ Lakes, since 2007.
“We recently had a male bobcat brought in that was hit by a car at the corner of (US) 41 and (SR) 54,” said Sullivan. “He had some head injuries that we had to treat. He recently went to Big Cat Rescue where he can have additional treatment.”
Another unusual animal taken in by the center was a Rhode Island red rooster named Mac. He was found as a chick in Land O’ Lakes last spring and was eventually adopted by Sullivan.
“He is my beautiful baby,” Sullivan said of Mac.
Along with its unusual pets, the center usually has 10 to 15 kittens and an occasional dog that were either strays or whose owners could no longer care for them. The center rehabilitates sick or injured animals and tries to find them new homes. Sullivan said the center has seen an increase in people dropping of pets that they can no longer afford because of the economy.
“They are just all great people at (the center),” said Larry Bullard, of Land O’ Lakes. “They have great hearts and are all true angels. My wife (Sharon) and I have recently adopted a little grey cat that we named Lizzy from them.”
Bullard knows from experience that the center helps more than just traditional pets.
“I brought in a little hurt bird that they help get better and eventually let it go,” Bullard said. “I also know that they helped an injured deer, too.”
The deer was a juvenile male Florida white-tailed deer that was hit by a car near SR 54 west of US 41. The deer had some head injuries, and center workers said it was quite a handful.
“A family saw (the deer) get hit and felt they had to do something,” Sullivan said. “They actually put it in the back seat of their car and drove it to us. One of them sat in the back with the deer to try and comfort it as best she could, but it was unconscious. We treated it for about a week, and then let it go in the wooded area nearby. It was remarkable that the family went so far out of their way to help that deer.”
Bullard said the center put the deer in a holding area so it would have room to move around while it recovered. He also said many of the workers got bumps and bruises while trying to help the animal.
“They do whatever it takes to help any animal,” Bullard said. “Even though it was a young buck it still had to be strong.”
Anyone interested in adopting pets of the more traditional variety should call the center at (813) 949-8899 and ask for Donna Songhurst.
“We currently have about 13 kittens that could all use a good home,” said Sullivan. “It seems like when five kittens are adopted, six new ones come in. We always need people willing to open their hearts and homes.”