To the valued clients of the 145th Street Animal Hospital,


After more than 30 years of continuous service to the Harlem Community, the 145th Street Animal Hospital will permanently close its doors on December 31st, 2020 in consequence of the untimely passing of its beloved owner and operator, Julie R. Butler, DVM, earlier this year.

Dr. Butler was a lifelong proponent of equity in the veterinary field and fierce advocate of access to quality veterinary care for underserved communities. Soon after earning her doctorate of veterinary medicine from Cornell University in 1983 – where she was the only Black graduate in her class – she bought the 145th Street Animal Hospital, which she owned and operated for over 30 years. For much of that time, she was the only veterinarian in Harlem, striving to provide high quality care to each patient she saw regardless of the owner’s economic circumstance. She co-founded the nonprofit, NY Save Animals in Veterinary Emergency, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing financial assistance to poor New Yorkers with pets in need of emergency care and was committed to hiring and mentoring aspiring veterinarians and technicians of color throughout her career. She also served as a past president of the Veterinary Medical Association of New York City, and was on the Board of Directors for Lutheran Social Services of New York. 



Dr. Butler was fiercely dedicated to her clients and patients.  She was hard working, innovative and above all else, kind-hearted.  She took her time with each animal she saw, making sure to get a detailed version of their history, invariably gaining the animal’s trust and often starting a friendship with the client. Many have said that she was more than just a veterinarian and treated staff and clients like family.


Dr. Butler’s commitment to the Harlem community extended beyond her veterinary practice.  A champion of the arts, she was a long-time supporter of the Harlem School of the Arts, of which both of her children are alumni, and was a co-founding member of the South African Harlem Voices (SAHAVO), a choir composed of a blend of African-American and South African cultures, that performed locally and internationally. Always bringing her passions into the workplace, her creativity and craftiness shone in the felt miniatures that she modeled after her patients and her creative projects that she showcased at her practice.

Though Dr. Butler is no longer with us, her legacy will live on in Harlem and beyond. In her honor, Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine has created the Dr. Julie R. Butler Memorial Scholarship, which will be awarded to a veterinary student of color with plans to work in underserved communities. Additionally, NYSAVE has established a fund in Dr. Butler’s name, which will assist pet owners in caring for their diabetic pets.


Our hearts are lifted by the overwhelming outpouring of support from those who loved Dr. Butler as we do. Our most profound thanks to those who have supported the 145th Street Animal Hospital throughout the years. We will miss you all dearly.




the Family & Staff of Dr. Julie R. Butler




Please send any questions or concerns about the closing of the 145th Street Animal Hospital to



If you’d like to make a contribution to the Dr. Julie R. Butler Memorial Fund at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, please contact Alison R. Smith, Director of Development:



If you’d like to donate to the Dr. Julie R. Butler Fund for Diabetic Animals through NYSAVE, please contact Linda Chiaverini, NYSAVE Executive Director: