State-of-the-Art Animal Care Facility Planned at JFK Airport

State-of-the-Art Animal Care Facility Planned at JFK Airport

Port Authority officials said the center will set new national airport standards for comprehensive veterinary, stalling/kenneling, and quarantine services, and create more efficient ways to transport animals worldwide.

By early 2015, horses and other animals will enjoy a new $32 million state-of-the-art facility at New York’s John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport. Port Authority officials said the center will set new national airport standards for comprehensive veterinary, stalling/kenneling, and quarantine services, and create more efficient ways to transport animals worldwide. JFK officials project the number of animals served at 70,000 each year.

Aaron Perl, MD, JD, FCLM, ARK founder and managing director, and general counsel for ARK parent company Racebrook Capital Advisors LLC, said, “Construction will begin in the first quarter of 2014, with operations commencing about a year later.” Perl said that services at the present Vetport facility are phasing out, and the Vetport will close when The ARK at JFK opens.

Architects and designers adapted The ARK at JFK’s design to fit the size and configuration of Building 78 northeast of JFK’s present Vetport. The ARK facility will offer three basic sections: the east wing air cargo services; the central administrative and veterinary clinic building; and the south-wing animal handling center, which will include the equine import/export center, a pet boarding center, and livestock export system. The Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine will run the veterinary hospital and rehabilitation center for horses and other large animals.

The equine import center will include a three-day quarantine area. After containers with imported horses are unloaded at the airside loading dock, horses will walk through a disinfecting foot bath and be led to one of 48 independent climate-, waste- and airflow-controlled stalls for quarantine.

The equine export center will accommodate USDA-mandated testing and travel document processing, and a pre-flight rest and observation period. Horses and other large animals will then be moved to the staging area, loaded into containers, weighed, and transported to their flight’s aircraft cargo hold.

In addition to the large-animal services and an aviary, the ARK at JFK will provide space for dog and cat kenneling, grooming, and exercise, along with a team of veterinary technicians and animal behaviorists.

“ARK will result in a world-class animal handling facility and establish a preeminent equine medical and surgical practice,” said Port Authority Chairman David Samson.

ARK is expected to bring more than $100 million in rent to the Port Authority during its 25-year lease term. Port Authority officials say the project will create 190 jobs, $12.3 million in wages, and $50.5 million in economic activity during this time.

About the Author

Diane E. Rice

Diane E. Rice earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural journalism from the University of Wisconsin, then melded her education and her lifelong passion for horses in an editorial position at Appaloosa Journal. She currently works as a freelance writer, editor, proofreader, and photographer and has served on American Horse Publications’ board of directors. Rice spends her spare time gardening, reading, serving in her church, and with her daughters, grandchildren, and pets.

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