Our caring and compassionate veterinary care team!
Meet the veterinarians and medical staff at North Shore Animal League of America’s Pet Health Centers! We’re pleased to provide exceptional vet care for your dogs, cats, puppies, and kittens! Please call us at 516-883-2000 to speak to one of our caring veterinary staff members!
Dr. Mark Verdino
Senior Vice President and Chief of Veterinary Staff
Dr. Verdino joined our medical team as Senior Staff Veterinarian and his passion, and commitment to improving animal health and welfare has been evident from the start. In 2011, Dr. Verdino assumed the role of Chief of Veterinary Staff. In this role he has focused on expanding the capabilities and scope of medical care at the Alex Lewyt Veterinary Medical Center.
Dr. Verdino holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Fairfield University, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from New York University, and earned his VMD from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine. Prior to joining NSALA, he worked in private practice at both Caring Hands Animal Hospital and Old Dominion Animal Health Center in Virginia. During that time, he worked closely with the Animal Welfare League of Arlington on medical cases.
Prior to achieving his veterinary degree, Dr. Verdino worked in investment management for the Goldman Sachs Group. Ultimately, his love of animals drove him to pursue a career in veterinary medicine and animal welfare.
His professional interests include soft-tissue and orthopedic surgery, pain management, rehabilitation, and alternative medicine. In his spare time, he enjoys biking, skiing/snowboarding and spending time with his wife and two children. He also has two lovable yet not-so-smart pugs.
Dr. Marina Tejada
Supervising Veterinarian – Medical Center
Dr. Tejada graduated from the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2010. She has been at North Shore Animal League America since 2012, serving as a Supervising Veterinarian since 2014. Her special interests include surgery, emergency response, shelter medicine, and mentoring veterinary students.
She is a Maddie’s Fund Shelter Medicine Fellow at Cornell University for 2017- 2018. In her free time, Dr. Tejada enjoys traveling, yoga, and spending quality time with her adopted rescues- three cats and two dogs.
Dr. Gerard Laheney
Senior Veterinarian – Shelter Medicine
Like many others, Gerard wanted to be a vet since the young age of 9. Having grown up in Port Washington, he learned from an early age of the North Shore Animal League as his family adopted their first of many animals in 1978. At the age of 15, and just recently having spoken with a friend of the need for a job, Gerard received a letter from North Shore recruiting local high school students. Gerard spent all of his high school years working as a kennel associate and later on the rescue team, and developed a passion for fostering neonate puppies. He went on to the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and received his BS in Animal Science (Pre Vet) and attended veterinary school at the University of Liverpool, UK graduating with a BVSC/MRCVS in 2001. He spent a year in private practice and found the most fulfilling aspect of this job was his contracted work with a local municipal shelter. In 2003, Gerard decided to ‘return to his roots’ and pursue a career at North Shore in Shelter Medicine. In 2007, Gerard was named a Senior Veterinarian and is primarily responsible for the intake of hundreds of animals weekly and managing the health of the 300-400 adoptable animals at North Shore.
Gerard currently shares his home with a rescued Catahoula, “Finn“, and a one-eyed cat, “Frisbee“.
Dr. Wendy Ardolina
Dr. Ardolina joined the North Shore family in 2015. She was born and raised on Long Island, and studied veterinary medicine at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine after earning a Bachelor of Science in Physics from New York University. Her special interests include feline medicine, low stress care, dentistry, and epidemiology.
She and her husband share their home with a hound dog mix named Desmond, a herding dog mix named Penny, five rescued cats, and a Senegal parrot named Echo.
Dr. Tiffany Brienza
Dr. Tiffany Brienza, a native New Yorker form Brooklyn, obtained her undergraduate degree from SUNY Stony Brook University and veterinary degree from St. Georges University in the beautiful spice island of Grenada. She completed her veterinary clinical training at North Carolina State University. Initially, Dr. Brienza worked at a local Small Animal practice in Greenpoint, Brooklyn before joining North Shore Animal League of America in November 2015. Her love for animals came natural and growing up with her first faithful companion (an adorable cocker spaniel ) named Hanna helped create her ever-growing passion for veterinary medicine.
Dr. Brienza’s special interest include preventative medicine, dermatology and internal medicine. Outside the hospital, you most likely can find her at the beach. She enjoys a number of outdoor activities and has a passion for travelling. She can also be found spending time with her family and in the company of her one eyed cat named Phoenix!
Dr. Erin Carney
Dr. Carney graduated from the Royal Veterinary College of the University of London in 2012. Upon her return to the states, she began her career at North Shore Animal League America as part of the internship program for new graduates. She is currently a staff veterinarian with special interests in surgery and shelter medicine.
In her free time, Dr Carney enjoys traveling and spending quality time with friends, family and her fur babies, Toby and Misha.
Dr. Nicole Cerniello
Dr. Cerniello joined North Shore Animal League America as a Staff Veterinarian in 2017. Dr. Cerniello received her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine and completed her clinical rotations at Louisiana State University. While passionate about all aspects of veterinary medicine, Dr. Cerniello has special interest in emergency/critical care and soft tissue surgery.
Dr. Juliana Dunlop
Dr. Dunlop grew up on Long Island and received her undergraduate degree from CUNY Queens College and veterinary degree from the St. Matthew’s University in Grand Cayman. She completed her veterinary clinical training at the University of Pennsylvania. Before joining the North Shore Animal League team in July 2015, she practiced at a veterinary hospital in Oyster Bay, NY. Dr. Dunlop’s special interests include surgery, preventive care and dentistry.
When not at work, Dr. Dunlop enjoys the beach and snowboarding. Her family consists a wonderful husband, a Pitbull mix, Bruno, a Rottie mix Bear, a Chihuahua mix, Scooter and two cats, Casper and Tony.
Dr. Amanda Fischer
Dr. Amanda Fischer earned her bachelors degree in biology/animal physiology from Cornell University. She continued on to complete her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine and Master of Science degrees at Cornell. After graduation she joined the staff at North Shore Animal League America as the Shelter Veterinarian Intern, and stayed on as an Associate Veterinarian. She has special interests in shelter medicine, ultrasound, and exotic animal medicine.
Outside of work she enjoys spending time with her three cats, dog, and turtle.
Dr. Ben Kagan
Dr. Kagan is a graduate of the Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. He completed a rotating internship with Bluepearl Veterinary Partners and the North Bay Animal and Bird hospital in Tampa Florida. After returning home to New York he worked briefly with a practice in Manhattan before finding his calling with NSALA performing high volume spay/neuter, general surgeries and shelter medicine.
When not at work he enjoys relaxing at the beach with his sassy chihuahua Felicia, surfing, gardening and spending time with friends and family.
Dr. Paul Thiergardt
A native Long Islander, Paul Thiergardt, DVM, studied biology at the University of Southern California, and Hofstra University, at the undergraduate and graduate level. After working for many years in human medicine at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, Dr. Thiergardt was admitted to Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine and earned his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine in 1988.
In 1988, Dr. Thiergardt began his career at North Shore Animal League America, and private practice at the Shirley Veterinary Hospital. in 1989. In 2007, he left private practice and was instrumental in the infancy and development of the Wellness/Pet Health Center at North Shore Animal League America.
In his leisure time, Dr. Thiergardt enjoys gardening, motorcycling, and spending time with family and friends.
Dr. Katarina Valen
Dr. Valen received her DVM degree from The Ohio State University School of Veterinary Medicine in 2008. Upon graduation she completed two year long specialized internship training programs, one in small animal medicine and surgery at the ASPCA Animal Hospital in NYC and one in shelter medicine as the recipient of the Petring Grant at the North Shore Animal League America. Following the completion of these programs, she entered into nearly a decade of private practice focusing on small animal medicine and surgery. While she enjoyed being part of the beauty that is the human-animal bond, she ultimately missed the global impact shelter like North Shore Animal League America offer and is glad to have returned.
Dr. Philip Litwack
Dr. Litwack graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in 2014, following a 10 year career as a software developer. Upon graduation, he joined North Shore Animal League America as an intern. He then remained at North Shore as an associate veterinarian, where he has continued his commitment to evidence-based medicine and ongoing education. His professional interests are feline medicine, internal medicine, and clinical pathology.
In his spare time, Dr. Litwack spends time playing guitar, and listening to music with his 6 cats.