Noah’s Ark Animal Hospital closure leaves mixed feelings

While the owners are hopeful, employees are frustrated.
Published: Aug. 2, 2022 at 4:12 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary is making some changes. Its animal 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 of directors were in the middle of restructuring the animal hospital to better serve its visitors, but a change in staffing sped up the process, leaving many with unanswered questions.

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

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

Noah's Ark Animal Hospital employees without a job after facility shuts down.
Noah's Ark Animal Hospital employees without a job after facility shuts down.(WIFR)

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

But, executive director Stephanie Lauer says she was forced to make that decision after two veterinarians put in their resignation.

“Currently we are closed because we have no veterinary staff on, obviously if we don’t have veterinarians, we have to layoff our support staff as well,” Lauer said.

The controversy started after Noah’s Ark board members decided to restructure the hospital to better serve underprivileged families in the stateline.

Some vets with the sanctuary wanted their voices heard, too. They felt they were treated unfairly.

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

That resignation prompted the hospital’s closure.

“We expected the transition to go a little slower-it did not-so now we are closed until we can figure it out,” Lauer said.

Lauer apologizes to all clients at the facility for the inconvenience. In the meantime, she says every animal will receive care at surrounding animal hospitals.

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

“I will be taking some time to figure out what was even currently happening so to deal with this whole mess my primary concern is one figuring out how our clients will get their records and establish care somewhere,” Schecker said.

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