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Staff

  • Alison Shea
    DVM

    A native of suburban Philadelphia, Dr. Shea attended Penn State University for her undergraduate studies, received her veterinary degree from Ross University and completed her clinical studies at the University of Pennsylvania. She then interned at Fifth Avenue Veterinary Specialists in New York City. S.he joined the Animal General team in December 2016. Dr. Shea is full of knowledge, expertise, energy, and always has a smile on her face. When she isn’t busy seeing clients, or performing surgeries, she can be found at home in the city relaxing with her husband Matt and rescue dog, Omar.

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  • Paul W. Howell
    DVM

    Dr. Paul Howell founded Animal General in 1984! Once, a one-doctor practice, Animal General is now one of the largest veterinary providers on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Dr. Howell’s unrequited passion for animals (and their owners) has created a loyal following of clientele. Dr. Howell earned his DVM from Colorado State and since opening the doors of Animal General has tirelessly work to create a private practice that focuses on client communication while providing thorough and comprehensive patient care. Part of that vision is creating a work environment in which each member is valued and knows the role they play in our patient's and client's lives is invaluable. Everyone at Animal General is part of a team, and part of a family.

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  • Sally Yang
    DVM

    Dr. Sally Yang has been with Animal General 2008! She completed her undergraduate studies at Cornell University and earned her DVM at The College of Veterinary Medicine at Ohio State University. Dr. Yang is loved by many of our clients; her direct-yet-compassionate nature eases both the worried client and patient. Dr. Yang and her husband, Johnny, have a son named Daniel and a daughter, Emily in addition to two cats (Kitty Cat and Billy) and an Animal General rescue dog, Bao.

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  • Jeanne Klafin
    DVM

    Dr. Klafin joined us in 2016. A native New Yorker, Dr. Klafin received her undergraduate degree in Communications from New York University in 1998, and spent 10 years working in the music industry at a boutique record label before pursuing her veterinary career. She then went on to complete a post-baccalaureate premedical program at Columbia University in 2005, and then pursued her veterinary degree at St. George’s University. Dr. Klafin spent a year in Philadelphia, finishing her veterinary training at the University of Pennsylvania. After school, she completed a rigorous internship at Fifth Avenue Veterinary Specialists in New York, where she developed an interest in all aspects of Internal Medicine. Since finishing her internship, she has worked in general practice in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Dr. Klafin is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, and is a USDA-accredited veterinarian. She lives in Brooklyn with her rescue cat, Z, enjoys music, film, reading, vegan cooking, boxing, and running.

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  • Karen Heidgerd
    Practice Administrator

    Karen has been with Animal General since 1995! Karen started her career in veterinary medicine as a receptionist, moving on to became a senior technician to a board-certified surgeon. Originally hired at Animal General as head technician, Karen proved herself to be invaluable to the team and worked her way up to practice administrator as the practice began to grow and develop. As practice administrator, she has initiated many of the innovative programs currently in place at Animal General. Karen is co-founder of the Wild Bird Fund, a federally and state licensed wildlife rehabilitator. While she no longer sits on the board at Wild Bird Fund, her current rehabilitation venture, City Pigeon Rehab (CPR) is a resource for fellow rehabbers in the city, providing necessary medication and diagnostics for NYC wildlife. Karen resides in Yonkers, NY with her wife Deb (Animal General's ultrasonographer) and a house-full of cats, dogs and birds (including chickens!). Her devotion to animals is beyond reproach!

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  • Deborah Holcombe
    Ultrasonographer

    Deb worked in human medicine performing ultrasound for hospitals, before going on to teach ultrasonography at local colleges. For the last several years she has lent her craft to our patients, performing detailed ultrasounds to assist our doctors in treatment and diagnosis. Her work is invaluable and her meticulous imagery has been instrumental in many a difficult case. Whether obtaining images for review or performing ultrasound guided biopsy and cytology, we are grateful to have Deb at our disposal. Married to our practice administrator, Karen Heidgerd, Deb lives in Yonkers with an eclectic group of dogs, cats and birds. Outside of veterinary ultrasonography, Deb is an accomplished artist and spends her down time painting in her studio. http://www.deborahholcombe.com/

  • Barbara Perez-Nevins
    TLC (Tender Loving Care) Coordinator

    Barbara has been with Animal General since 1997! As our “TLC” (Tender Loving Care) Coordinator, Barbara provides love and comfort for distressed patients, especially post-surgery. Every animal waking up from sedation or anesthesia wakes up in Barbara's arms and she treats each patient as if they were her own. When she’s not providing comfort to a patient, she extends her TLC expertise to our house cats, by medicating, feeding and providing endless cuddles. Barbara is married to our porter, Robert and in her free time, she likes to put together puzzles, spend quality time with her African Grey Parrot, Jim, and care for her many dogs and cats at home. There is only one Barb and we’re lucky she’s ours!

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  • Afua Johnson
    Licensed Veterinary Technician

    Afua has been with Animal General since 1999! Before coming to Animal General, Afua worked for the North Shore Animal League and the Animal Medical Center. She has an Associate’s Degree in Veterinary Technology at Cedar Valley College and was licensed by the State of New York in 2007. Afua is the cornerstone of our nursing staff and is often one of the first people you meet when admitting your pet for procedures at Animal General. From dentals, to x-rays, to assisting in major surgeries, her multifaceted approach makes her an invaluable member of our team. Afua resides upstate and is avid cook, baker and gardener. She enjoys spending time with her husband Ty, and two children, Kwame and Afia.

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  • Jennifer McNamara
    Licensed Veterinary Technician

    Jennifer has been with Animal General since 2006! She earned earned her bachelor's degree at Manhattanville College and received her Associate’s Degree in Veterinary Technology from Cedar Valley College and was licensed by the state of NY in 2007. Jenn met Afua while attending a large animal practical class for their degrees in 2006. When Afua learned that Jenn was looking to pursue a career in NYC, she advised her to call Karen and the rest is history. She has found a second home and family at Animal General! When not busy working, or pet sitting, Jenn enjoys spending time with her husband Mike and their daughter, Erin. Erin has been visiting us since a newborn, and we have enjoyed watching her grow! Among Jenn's many fur-babies (2 cats, 2 birds and a turtle!) is Coco the cockatoo (pictured with Jenn). Coco comes to work with Jenn almost daily and is a neighborhood favorite! Stop in to see him dance, laugh and sing!!!

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  • Maureen Herde
    Nurse

    Maureen has been with Animal General since 2012 but has been in the field since 1999. Originally studying to become a veterinarian, Maureen decided that nursing was more her calling and is currently finishing her studies to be licensed through the Penn-Foster program. Maureen has worked for private practice,the ASPCA, and North Shore before becoming a night nurse here at Animal General. Her dedication and commitment is unparalleled and before long, we knew her skills were best put to use on the day shift. Known among the staff as the "kitty whisperer" even the most frightened cat is easily soothed by Maureen's gentle nature. Maureen life's work is to provide care and comfort to cats with special needs and is very active in our adoption program. In her opinion, every cat deserves a fighting chance, and she tirelessly devotes herself to the cause.

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  • Megan Thiffault
    Receptionist

    Like Desiree, Megan has come back to Animal General, twice! She originally left to pursue a career with the government, but quickly realized she was meant to be in the world of animals and came back to Animal General (and New York) nine months later. She couldn’t be happier! Coming from Southern California, she loves to write, and heads up our social media department, keeping our clients up-to-date via Facebook and Instagram. Megan has a lot of energy, and likes to stay busy, so you can find her in the front answering calls, emails, bantering with clients, helping fill medications, and doing any task that comes her way.

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  • Desiree Rhine
    Receptionist

    Originally from Napa Valley, CA, Desiree started with us in 2007 and left to pursue a career in wine in 2012. During her time away, she realized that she missed being part of the Animal General team and returned in June 2016. When Desiree isn't answering phone calls or greeting our clients, she is busy processing insurance forms. If you have any questions about insurance for your pet or want more information in general, feel free to contact Desiree, she'll be happy to help! In her free time, Desiree loves yoga, reading, writing, theater, and a glass or two of wine!

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  • Joy Kunc
    Office Manager

    Joy has been with Animal General since 1997! In addition to managing our front desk, she develops lasting relationships with our clients and strives everyday to give our clients the best possible service she can. Being a vegetarian and animal rights activist, she is often the voice of the patient (and our house cats!) and if she thinks a patient is in distress, she won't hesitate to grab a doctor or nurse so they get immediate attention. Joy lives in New Jersey with her musician husband Monroe and two cats, Precious and Sméagol. Outside of animals, the next passion of Joy's life is music! She is a classically trained opera singer and huge Beatles enthusiast!

  • Mary Vazquez
    Receptionist

    Mary has been with Animal General since 1999! She enjoys working with people, and has no desire to retire! If you are traveling, especially internationally, with your pet Mary can help navigate you through the overwhelming red-tape required in taking a pet abroad. Whether it's because of work, travel or relocation, Mary knows the ins-and-outs of international travel and the specific requirements individual countries require. Outside of work (and her many pet sitting jobs), Mary is happiest with her family, especially her many grandchildren!

  • Bobby Johnson
    Attendant/Handler

    Bobby started at Animal General in 2015. Born and raised in South Dakota, Bobby is now a real New Yorker. Working previously as a bank teller, it was his love for animals that brought him to Animal General! Since starting with us, Bobby has realized that veterinary medicine is his true calling and has recently enrolled in Cedar Valley College's online veterinary technician program. When not assisting in patient restraint, or studying and improving his practical skills, he helps keep our patients comfortable and clean, especially during the overnight hours. We are excited to support Bobby in becoming a licensed veterinary technician!

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  • Kenny Greene
    Attendant/Handler

    Kenny has been with Animal General since 1998! A morning person, he is a part of our early staff and is often one of the first faces to greet you and your pet when you walk through our doors. He has a particular affinity for grooming and is a skill handler. He prides himself on protecting not only the patient, but the staff as well. Kenny has also been known to make house calls to pick up the pets of our elderly clients, and also assists doctors during many a home visit. He is always willing to lend a helping hand. Kenny lives in Brooklyn with his wife KK and young daughter Kaiyonna.

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  • Gary Ragland
    Attendant/Handler

    Gary has been with Animal General since 2001 and has since proven himself indispensable in the prep room. Gary's calm, cool and collected nature helps ease pets, clients and staff. No matter the circumstance, we can rely on Gary's gentle way and kind spirit. Gary lives in Brooklyn with his daughter Raven and loves music, movies and sports.

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  • Robert Nevins
    Porter

    Robert has been with Animal General since 2000! Quite possibly the best porter in the field, Robert can be found cleaning from sun up to sun down, making sure our patients have the cleanest, warmest towels in town. Robert is married to the love of his life, Barbara (our TLC Coordinator) and lives in Yonkers with their many cats, dogs and birds! When he’s not busy working, Robert enjoys watching sports, especially the NY Yankees, and painting model cars.

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  • Jeremy Lebron

    Jeremy started at Animal General in 2009 and we were immediately impressed by his work ethic. Relentlessly cleaning and ensuring our lobby is comfortable for our clients, Jeremy is also known to go out of his way to run errands for the patients and staff. Jeremy lives in the Bronx, and during his free time loves to listen to punk music and read comics.

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Our Location

Main Office

Monday:

8:00 am-8:00 pm

Tuesday:

8:00 am-8:00 pm

Wednesday:

8:00 am-8:00 pm

Thursday:

8:00 am-8:00 pm

Friday:

8:00 am-8:00 pm

Saturday:

8:00 am-7:00 pm

Sunday:

8:00 am-4:00 pm