The Council

Phillip Raclyn, DVM CVA
Founder and Chief Executive Officer:

Practicing veterinary medicine since 1986 in the Greater New York Area. Founder and Previous Director of Riverside Animal Hospital, Riverside Veterinary Group, and Riverside Animal Clinic. Current owner and director Yorktown Animal Hospital, Peekskill Cortlandt Veterinary Hospital and Mobile Vet Express).

Dr. Raclyn has appeared on television many times, from the Martha Stewart Show to MTV to People's Court.

He has been quoted innumerable times in newspapers and magazines ranging from The New York Times, The Daily News to Cat Fancy. He has been a contributing editor to two books on raising pets holistically (Keep Your Dog Healthy the Natural Way and Keep Your Cat Healthy the Natural Way). He was honored by JASA (Jewish Association Serving the Aging) for his charitable contributions in helping senior citizens keep their pets healthy.

Dr Raclyn was recently chosen after a nationwide search to star in a pilot show for the A & E network. The filming of the pilot concluded last year, but the project is still sitting on a shelf at A & E.

He is a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist with advanced training in Chinese Herbal Medicine and Veterinary Forensics. He is also a member of the AVMA, NYSVMA, NYCVMA, IVAS, AAVA and numerous other veterinary and animal related associations. Dr Raclyn was also recently chosen to participate as a core member of the AVMA Panel on Depopulation.
Sylvia Bedford Guaus, DVM MS PhD, Dip.ACT

Chief of Theriogenology, Breeding and Reproduction
Dr. Bedford is a specialist in reproduction. She obtained her DVM in 1991 from the University of Barcelona, and completed a MS in Reproductive Physiology from Colorado State University (1993). She underwent specialized veterinary residency training in Large Animal Internal Medicine (Tufts University, 1993-96) and Animal Reproduction (University of Pennsylvania, 1996-98), and became a specialist in reproduction by the American College of Theriogenologists in 1997.Between 1998-2004.

Dr Bedford Guaus was a lecturer by the Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences at the University of Massachusetts, meanwhile completing a PhD in basic reproductive physiology. In 2004 she became an Assistant Professor at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University where she divided her time among teaching, clinical and research duties.

Since February 2013 she is a postdoctoral researcher at the CMR[B], a research center working on Stem Cell Research, whose main goals include understanding the basic mechanisms of initial development and organogenesis, as well as the application of the cell lines derived from stem cells to diseases and regenerative medicine in which there is a loss of cells (degenerative diseases).

She is a dog lover and excited about the opportunity to share her dog reproduction knowledge and expertise to support this project.
Albert Ahn, DVM
USDA and FDA Liaison

Dr. Ahn graduated from Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine with a DVM degree. Following an internship in small animal medicine and surgery at the Animal Medical Center in New York City, he completed a small animal medicine residency at Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine Foster Hospital for Small Animals.

An experienced veterinarian and a seasoned industry veteran, Dr Ahn has since held several senior managerial positions at Sumitomo Corporation of America (formerly JW Childs), Merial (a division of Merck and Sanofi-Aventis), and Hill's Pet Nutrition, Inc. (a division of Colgate Palmolive). In June 2008, AB Science launched the US division of its company under the leadership of Dr. Ahn, president of U.S. operations.Dr Ahn has extensive experience dealing with governmental agencies, starting with his work with Frontline, then Vectra, and more recently, KinaVet.

He is our liaison with governmental agencies, including the USDA.
Lisa Boyer, DVM
Breeder Education and Certification

Dr Boyer is an Emergency and Critical Care veterinarian who has extensive experience treating sporting dogs with both Western and holistic veterinary medicine. She is also an avid dog breeder.... breeding Wirehaired Pointing Griffons. In fact, she's an AKC Breeder of Merit! You can see more about her breeding activities here: .

She is also an AKC Delegate working closely with the AKC to preserve purebred dogs. Dr Boyer writes for several Sporting Dog publications, including a monthly column for North American Versatile Hunting Dog Magazine for whom she is a Contributing Editor. She has written extensively, and has well over 40 published articles with such diverse topics as Breeder Ethics, Sporting Dog Health, Health Issues Related to Breeding and many more.

Dr Boyer, with unique experiences as a veterinarian and a breeder is in charge, with Dr Bedford Guauss, of our training programs. More specifically, she'll be working on our Master Breeder program.
Jean Dodds, DVM

Dr. Dodds received the D.V.M. degree with honors in 1964 from the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Toronto. In 1965, she accepted a position as a Research Scientist with the New York State Health Department. In 1980, she also became Executive Director, New York State Council on Human Blood and Transfusion Services. 1986 when she moved to Southern California to establish Hemopet (she is currently the President of Hemopet), the first nonprofit national blood bank program for animals.

Dr. Dodds is very well-known for her minimum vaccine protocols and as Co-Trustee of The Rabies Challenge Fund. She has authored several articles such as "Changing Vaccine Protocols". Dr. Dodds co-authored "The Canine Thyroid Epidemic: Answers You Need for Your Dog", which was rewarded the Dog Writers Association of America, Best Care and Health Book for 2011 and the Eukanuba Maxwell Canine Health Award. Her second book, Nutrigenomics: Foods that heal your dog, was published in January 2015.

1974: Outstanding Woman Veterinarian of the Year, AVMA Annual Meeting
1977: Region I Award for Outstanding Service to the Veterinary Profession from the American Animal Hospital Association
1978 and 1990: received the Gaines Fido Award as Dogdom's Woman of the Year
1978: Recognition of Special Contributions to the Veterinary Profession from the American Animal Hospital Association
1984: Centennial Medal from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine
1987: Distinguished Practitioner of the National Academy of Practice in Veterinary Medicine
1994: Holistic Veterinarian of the Year Award from the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association

In 2011, Dr. Dodds released NutriScan, a food sensitivity and intolerance diagnostic test for dogs. NutriScan tests for twenty of the most commonly ingested foods.
Jason Berg, DVM, DACVIM/Neurology

Dr. Berg is the co-founder and staff neurologist and internist with Animal Specialty Center. Prior to founding ASC, Dr. Berg developed a referral hospital within County Animal Clinic. Concurrently, they established Animal MR, a mobile MRI service for specialty veterinary hospitals. They were the first veterinarians to provide MRI services for the New York metropolitan area.In 1997. Dr. Berg completed his rotating internship in medicine and surgery at The Animal Medical Center in NYC. In 2000 he completed a dual residency in both neurology and internal medicine. He is board certified in both of these specialties.

Dr. Berg has published numerous articles pertaining to veterinary neurology and has presented at professional conferences around the country. He completed a training program in veterinary acupuncture with the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society in 2001 and has been providing acupuncture to his clients ever since.

Dr. Berg has spearheaded collaboration with a large number of rescue organizations. He believes it to be a duty as a veterinarian to help the less fortunate. He has been the recipient of numerous accolades for his work by the rescue community, including guest of honor at Cat Assistance and Pet Adoption League's Wags & Whiskers Gala and the 'Hope Award' presented to him by The Husky House, among others.
Justin Ward, DVM RCVS
Australia / New Zealand

Dr Ward qualified as a vet in South Africa, and left African shores in 2000 to register with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in the UK, and spend the next 5 years working around the UK and traveling around the world. After working in practices in Sydney and the Gold Coast, as well as starting a practice in Coomera, Justin decided he wanted to offer high quality veterinary care, from new well equipped premises, with a solid dose of good old fashioned customer service. Reedy Creek Veterinary Surgery opened its doors in May 2012, and has grown tremendously in size and staff ever since. With ongoing corporatisation of the industry, Justin wanted to focus on building a highly skilled, compassionate team, with a focus on the wellbeing of the pet, and build life long relationships with customers.

It was Dr Ward who brought it to the attention of The Veterinary Council for Breed Stewardship that the Puppy Mill problem exists in Australia and New Zealand as well, and he wanted to be on the forefront on any action that could change that.
Karen Helton Rhodes, DVM, DACVD

Dr. Helton Rhodes practices as a board certified veterinary dermatologist in the tri-state region. Her dermatology training started at the Animal Medical Center in NYC as an intern and dermatology resident.

She stayed in New York as head of the department of dermatology at The Animal Medical Center for 13 years. While at the AMC, she also held the position of Assistant Clinical Professor of Dermatology at New York University Hospital.She then moved her practice across the river and opened Riverdale Veterinary Dermatology in northern New Jersey.

She was the recipient of the Merit Award from the VMA of NYC, the Clendenin J. Ryan teaching award, and is listed as one of the “Best Veterinarians in New York” by New York Magazine.

She continues to lecture both nationally and abroad and has authored numerous refereed veterinary medical journal articles, research abstracts, and textbook chapters.Dr. Helton-Rhodes’ most current textbook is “The 5-Minute Veterinary Consult- Clinical Companion in Small Animal Dermatology” which is published in 7 languages.

Her most recent venture is the development of a new company, Canine Skin Solutions, Inc., with partner and fellow dermatologist, Dr. Terri Bonenberger. They have designed an informational website ( for pet owners and formulated a novel skin-care line of topical products for pets. They also have an educational Facebook page and interactive group for Canine Skin Solutions, Inc.
Martin Randell, DVM, DACVIM

Dr Randell grew up in Queens and Long Island, NY. He received a BS in Biology from Cornell University in 1972 and an MA in Neurobiology and Animal Behavior from UCLA in 1973. He achieved his DVM degree from the University of Missouri in 1979. Dr. Randell pursued an internship in small animal medicine and surgery followed by a residency in internal medicine and neurology at the Animal Medical Center in New York City. At the AMC he was also responsible for the care of exotic pets. After leaving the Animal Medical Center he was the staff internist at County Animal Clinic in Yonkers, NY.

In 1984 he joined Somers Animal Hospital, soon becoming a partner.

Dr. Randell achieved Diplomate status in the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine in 1985. As well as specializing in internal medicine, he has expertise in gastrointestinal endoscopy and ultrasonography and continues to care for pet birds, reptiles and small mammals. Dr Randell is licensed in wildlife rehabilitation.
Karen Davies, DVM
Dr. Davies is one of the owners of Greencastle Veterinary Clinic and proud breeder of Labrador Retrievers. She graduated from Purdue in 1983 and has lived in Greencastle for 26 years. Dr. Davies is involved in showing and breeding Labrador Retrievers under the Paradocs prefix. She is also a Labrador judge for the American Kennel Club.

David Bessler, DVM

Dr. Bessler is the owner and medical director of The Veterinary Emergency Group which was founded by Westchester’s community of veterinarians over 25 years ago to provide high quality emergency veterinary care after hours and on weekends. It currently has 10 locations across the country and is still growing.

After having completed a rotating internship in small animal medicine and surgery at The Center for Specialized Veterinary Care on Long Island, he remained there for two years as the Director of Emergency and Critical Care.

Dr. Bessler then headed the emergency service at BluePearl Veterinary Partners in Manhattan where he worked for 8 years.
Beth Hirschfeld, DVM CVA VMO

Dr. Hirschfeld is the president of Hirschfeld Veterinary Consulting, Inc. She currently works as the veterinarian for Flamingo Gardens Wildlife Sanctuary in Davie, FL, Billie Swamp Safari in Clewiston, FL and as a per diem surgeon for the Humane Society of Broward County, Humane society of Greater Miami and for other private clinics and rescue groups. She is also called to consult and do special surgeries for local exotic pet owners, wildlife rehabilitators and wildlife centers. Dr. Hirschfeld has appeared on various TV shows and news clips, most notably Swamp Men's most wanted episode.

She is an IVAS Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist.

She is the President of the Florida Wildlife Rehabilitators Association (, veterinary consultant and volunteer for Meals for Pets (providing pet food for homebound seniors and terminally ill individuals).

Dr. Hirschfeld sits on the advisory board of the Miami/Dade veterinary technician program and was a veterinary medical officer for the National Veterinary Response Team (NVRT 3) which is one of five nationwide federal disaster response teams. NVRTs are federally deployed to help support the veterinary infrastructure to care for exotic, wild and domestic animals in times of disaster or epidemic outbreaks.

When not flying around (she is a licensed pilot) or embarking on her outdoor adventures, Dr. Hirschfeld can be found in Hollywood, FL where she lives with her rock star crew: dogs Brady and Teddy, a resident ocicat, Luke and sweet orange tabby Romeo.


American Association of Zoo Veterinarians (AAZV)
Wildlife Disease Association (WDA)
International Veterinary Acupuncture Society (IVAS)
Association of Veterinarians for the Environment (AVE)
American Association of Wildlife Veterinarians (AAWV)
National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association (NWRA)
International Wildlife Rehabilitators Council (IWRC)
International Association for Aquatic Animal Medicine (IAAAM)
PADI Divemaster
Society for Aquatic Veterinary Medicine (SAVM)
Volunteer veterinarian for NOAA/NMFS.
Keith Niesenbaum, VMD

Dr. Niesenbaum has been in small animal practice since graduating from The University of Pennsylvania with his VMD from the Veterinary College, class of '84. Shortly after arriving on Long Island, he started a house call practice which expanded to his current practice situation.

Dr. Niesenbaum owns

The Crawford Dog and Cat Hospital in Garden City Park
The Great Neck Dog and Cat Hospital
The Farmingdale Dog and Cat Clinic

He still enjoys the extended client contact afforded by house call practice and carries that philosophy over into his in office practice. Dr. Niesenbaum is a member of the AVMA, NYSVMS, and LIVMA where he currently serves as president of the executive board.
Terri Bonenberger, DVM, DACVD

Dr Bonenberger is a graduate of Texas A&M; University College of Veterinary Medicine and completed a residency and clinical fellowship in dermatology at the University of California, Davis. A diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Dermatology since 2000,

Dr. Bonenberger practiced full-time as a clinical dermatologist since her residency and joined IDEXX laboratories in March 2012.She has authored numerous articles on small animal dermatology and lectures both nationally and internationally.

Dr. Bonenberger currently provides consultation services for veterinarians in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. Dr. Bonenberger continues to practice part-time in Charleston, South Carolina & Savannah, Georgia
Carl Singer, DVM

After completing his Bachelor’s at UC Berkeley, Dr. Singer went on to receive his Doctor of Veterinary medicine from UC Davis. Upon graduating, Dr. Singer worked at a veterinary practice that included over 6 doctors. For the next ten years he developed his knowledge not only inclusively on dogs and cats, but also with rabbits, hamsters, birds and other exotic animals that fascinated him.Dr. Singer juggles the many tasks of having a family, enjoying personal hobbies, practicing veterinary medicine, and owning a veterinary clinic.

Dr Singer manages licensees for the Hayward and Oakland Animal Shelters. He also holds a seat on the CVMA Legislative committee, where he discusses and votes on policies that affect the veterinary community.
Jane Kosovsky, DVM

Dr. Kosovsky performs the major orthopedic and soft tissue surgeries for many of the larger hospitals in NYC. A graduate of Ohio State University Veterinary School, she completed her veterinary internship at the Animal Medical Center and then her Surgical Residency at the Animal Medical Center as well. "All I do is surgery, and many of them every day," says Dr. Kosovsky. She performs surgery in a dozen different clinics in Manhattan.
Douglas Wyler, DVM

Dr Wyler is a founding partner of The Animal Medical Hospital and Bird Clinic, and in Queens Trylon Vet Care and Whitestone Vet Care. He is a graduate of Cornell University and The University of Bologna Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Wyler, residing in nearby Rockville Centre, has been practicing here over 25 years. He has had extensive post graduate training in surgery, both soft tissue and orthopedic, as well as radiology, dermatology and internal medicine. In addition, in 1999 Dr. Wyler completed the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society's course in Acupuncture.

Dr. Wyler has played an active roll in organized veterinary medicine. He was

President of the Long Island Veterinary Medical Association from 1996-1997
Chairman of the Ethics Committee
Chairman of the New York State Board for Veterinary Medicine

He is the recipient of numerous State Society and Regional Awards for Service to the Profession, and remains an active member of The American Veterinary Medical Association, as well as the New York State Veterinary Medical Society and the Long Island Veterinary Medical Association.In addition, Dr. Wyler is a member of the American Animal Hospital Association's Leadership Advisory Council. Finally, Dr. Wyler is also an educator. He taught pet owners about pet care for over 18 years as an adjunct lecturer at Molloy College in the department of continuing education. He is also a visiting professor of Veterinary Surgery at the University of Bologna (Italy) Faculty of Veterinary Medicine since 1999.