Costa Mesa contracts with Newport Center Animal Hospital for shelter services


The City of Costa Mesa has entered into an agreement with the Newport Center Animal Hospital and Pet Hotel Suites in Newport Beach to provide animal shelter services and veterinary care.

This agreement is on a temporary basis until a permanent solution to the city’s animal care needs can be analyzed and a long-term decision made by the City Council.

The Newport Center Animal Hospital is owned by Dr. Anthony M. Rizk, who has direct experience in shelter medicine and disease control.

“We believe the Newport Center Animal Hospital will offer high-quality care for the dogs, cats and other animals that are lost or abandoned in the City of Costa Mesa,” City Manager Tom Hatch said. “Because Dr. Rizk is experienced in shelter medicine, we think this is an ideal short-term solution for us and for our residents who care deeply about their pets.”

Under the new agreement, a veterinarian will be on site six days a week and on call on Sundays. The city will pay the hospital $20,833 per month for the shelter services.

“My interest is to provide the best care for the animals that come to my hospital,” said Dr. Rizk. “I am looking forward to working with the city of Costa Mesa and the community to assist these animals.  I’m excited to be back to where I started in shelter medicine and to fully utilize my shelter care skill sets.”

The City of Costa Mesa’s newly formed Animal Services Committee will be tasked with researching shelter options and proposing a long-term solution to the City Council over the coming months. The committee was appointed at the Tuesday Jan. 16 Council meeting and consists of seven members and two alternates.

“The City Council formed our new committee because our pets deserve the best care possible, and I look forward to working with committee members to ensure that will happen,” Mayor Sandy Genis said.

The multi-level Newport Center Animal Hospital is fully indoors and climate controlled with animals afforded larger spaces with unique amenities, including cat condos equipped with perches. For dogs, there are play areas as well as calming videos and music.

Most of the suites are plexi-glass enclosures designed to prevent the spread of communicable diseases and decrease potential injuries to animals.

The hospital is staffed with 20 full-time employees, 10 of whom are caretakers. The employees walk dogs on a daily basis and assist with visual exams and other veterinary care needs. Other services that will be provided at the shelter are:

  • Initial entry exams
  • Pre-adoption exams
  • Pre-adoption spay and neuter
  • Vaccinations
  • Microchip placement and enrollment
  • Free follow-up post-adoption exams
  • Veterinary care until adoption
  • Daily visual exams

The hospital is also equipped with an in-house laboratory, in-house pharmacy, digital imaging and radiography, ultrasound and digital dental radiographs. The facility features a state-of-the-art surgical suite and offers laser surgery and therapy.

Under the new agreement, any remaining animals at the Humane Society’s Huntington Beach facility will be examined by a doctor of veterinary medicine upon transfer on Sunday Jan. 21 to the new Newport Center facility and will be under the care of Dr. Rizk.

For the short term, the Newport Center facility will not offer adoption services. City staff is currently negotiating with local rescue groups and third party non profits to provide those adoption services until a long-term solution is found.

Dr. Rizk has committed to employing the best practices in veterinary care and in emergency medicine and surgery. He has worked for and volunteered his time and surgical skills across Humane Societies, shelters, and rescues in Los Angeles and Orange County.

In addition, he is well versed in exotic pet medicine and the hospital serves pigs, birds and rabbits with medicine. There is dentistry and oral surgery, as well as soft tissue and orthopedic surgery available.

Dr. Rizk is a member of American Veterinary Medical Association and the Southern California Veterinary Medical Association and is a graduate of the University of Illinois veterinary school. He completed his undergraduate work at UCLA and worked on university research studies focusing on animal behavior and neurology as an instructor and teaching graduate student.

The Newport Center Animal Hospital was established in 1972 and was purchased by Dr. Rizk in 2016. It is located at 1333 Avocado Ave, Newport Beach. Click here to visit the website.

Dr. Rizk is planning to offer interested community members a tour of the facility in upcoming weeks.

Residents who find missing or injured animals or who believe their animal is lost should continue to call the city’s Animal Control dispatch at (714) 754- 5674. For general questions regarding animal control or to report wildlife related issues please call the Animal Control hotline at (714) 754-5311.