WCN Hospital Underway

By Richard Mineards   |   February 27, 2020
WLC Hospital Manager Elaine Ibarra attending to an adult female red hawk assisted by Samatha Gerratty, and Animal Care Assistant Liz Poffley, who brought the hawk that was a victim of a hit and run (photo by Priscilla)

Santa Barbara’s 32-year-old Wildlife Care Network, which is building a two-story, 5,000 sq. ft. animal hospital on its 1.8 acre Goleta property, has raised more than $3 million of its $6 million budget, including a hefty donation of $3 million from News-Press owner Wendy McCaw and $250,000 in a grant from the Oiled Wildlife Care Network.

Animal lover McCaw’s gift occurred after Ariana Katovich, WCN’s executive director, bumped into her at the trendy Coast Village Road eatery, Tre Lune, and explained the project, which will feature radiology, laboratories, and a songbird nursing wing, saving long drives by volunteers to other veterinary facilities in Long Beach, San Pedro, and Ojai.

Betsy Denison and Nan Butterfield with Gretchen Lieff and Roland Bryan toasting the forthcoming building of the SBWCN hospital (photo by Priscilla)
Wildlife Care Network supporters celebrating the new hospital (photo by Priscilla)

“She came the next day and committed to the donation,” says Ariana. “Needless to say, it has been a godsend and we expect to break ground in September, completing the project next year.”

McCaw also donated $1 million to the charity ten years ago, which enabled it to purchase its current site for $2.5 million.

The network will also soon have a resident vet, Stanford undergraduate Avery Berkowitz, 31, who starts work in May, working with more than 300 volunteers, who deal with between 40 and 60 animals daily from March to September.

Montecito resident Penny Bianchi recounted rescuing a possum on a recent drive back to our Eden by the Beach from the Big Orange.

“I immediately stopped the car,” says Penny. “It was perched between a 75-foot drop and eight lanes of heavy traffic. What a nightmare! I took it straight here.”

Among the party animals turning out for the Wild Wine bash were Gretchen Lieff and Miles Hartfeld, Hal Conklin, Luke Swetland, Sandy Robertson, Ann Smith, Betsy Ingalls, Sharol Siemens, Judi Weisbart, Carol Wathen, Anne Sutherland Fuchs, and Sarah McLean.


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