ferret vet
Shachar Malka Long Island Exotic Pet Veterinarian

Dr. Shachar Malka

Diplomate ABVP

Dr. Shachar Malka is LIBEVC’s medical director. He has more than 20 years of experience working with birds, exotic species and wildlife. After his graduation from vet school, Dr. Malka completed an internship at the University of Guelph, Canada and a three year residency program at the University of California, Davis in avian and exotic pet medicine and surgery. LIBEVC is the third specialty practice that Dr. Malka established. Prior to LIBEVC he founded an Avian and Exotics specialty service at a VCA hospital in California. He later relocated to New York City where he joined the Humane Society of New York to develop their Avian and Exotics Program. Dr. Malka's professional interests include advanced anesthesia, minimally invasive surgery and advanced imaging. He performs a variety of surgeries using high-end surgical endoscopy equipment that minimizes the risks associated with surgery and allows faster recovery.

Dr. Malka has a strong interest in wildlife conservation. He is the founder of Rift Valley Wildlife Clinics, a non-profit that cares for animals in need locally as well as in East Africa, where he volunteers much of his time providing veterinary care in rural areas.

He continues to publish scientific articles on a variety of topics in avian and exotic animal medicine and lectures at international veterinary conferences, as well as other regional events. Dr. Malka is a member of AAV, AEMV, ARAV, AAZV and AVMA. See Dr. Malka's Publications.

Gina Vecere Long Island Exotic Pet Veterinarian

Dr. Gina Vecere

Dr. Vecere graduated from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. While there, she participated in the Wildlife Medical Clinic, and continued to explore her interests in wildlife and exotic animal medicine through externships at zoos and hospitals as far reaching as South Africa. Her professional interests include reptile medicine and diagnostic imaging. Dr. Vecere grew up in the Hudson Valley, and enjoys cooking, hiking, and playing with her dog, two cats, bearded dragon, and boa constrictor.  


Dr. Nitzan Gour Hakim

Dr. Hakim graduated from St. Matthew's University College of Veterinary Medicine . After the completion of her third year of Veterinary Medicine school, she moved to Stillwater, Oklahoma for her clinical year at Oklahoma State University. Her professional interests include sea-turtle medicine and diagnostic imaging. Dr. Hakim enjoys spending time with her family, hiking, and playing with her dog.

Gia Kozar Long Island Exotic Pet Office Manager

Gia Kozar

Clinic Manager

Gia has loved animals since before she could walk. Growing up on a farm, she learned very quickly how to work with and care for many different kinds of animals. She has been involved with animal rescue for many years, volunteering and fostering for a number of shelters and private rescues. In her time off she enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter, going on hikes with their two dogs as well as reading and cuddling with their two cats. 

Stephanie Wieczorek Long Island Exotic Pet Veterinary Technician

Stephanie Wieczorek

Veterinary Technician (LVT)

Stephanie is an LVT who graduated Mercy College in 2020. With a passion for animals of all shapes and sizes at a young age, she knew she would work with them as a profession. She grew up with an abundance of species from dogs, cats, birds, reptiles, fish and small mammals. On her free time she loves to go hiking with her Labrador, play video games, and spend time with her husband, cats, Leopard Gecko and rats.

Sara Woods Long Island Exotic Pet Veterinary Assistant

Sara Woods

Veterinary Technician/Hospital Coordinator

Sara has had a passion for learning and caring for animals from a young age. Growing up with many different animals including dogs, cats, birds and small mammals. Her first job was working at Petsmart while she was in college and fell in love with working with the animals in the small pet department. Sara had worked as a photographer for a few years before deciding to go back to school to become a vet tech. Working at LIBEVC has helped Sara achieve her dream of working with animals. In her spare time Sara enjoys spending time with her family and dog, reading and taking pictures.

Sarah Hoogenboom Long Island Exotic Pet Veterinary Assistant

Sarah Hoogenboom

Veterinary Technician

Sarah has had a passion for animals since she was a little girl. She has always loved caring for them and rescuing ones in need. She is currently a student at Hunter College working towards a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology. She hopes to one day become a vet herself and specialize in exotics and wildlife rehabilitation. She is excited to join the team at LIBEVC. During her free time she enjoys taking care of her reptiles, reading, and writing poetry. 

Katarina Rodriguez Long Island Exotic Pet Veterinary Assistant

Katarina Rodriguez

Veterinary Technician

Katarina, the LIBVEC bun-enthusiast, is working towards becoming a licensed veterinary technician and taking classes through the San Juan College Veterinary Technology Distance Learning Program (VTDLP). She is a self-proclaimed bunny guru, but she will not hesitate to cuddle a meddlesome Macaw or a chatty chameleon. She has a beautiful holland lop waiting for her to come home every day by the name of Skipps. Katarina’s love of animals truly blossomed later in life, when she witnessed at a rehabilitation center the power of small mammals and exotics to motivate people to heal and recover. When Katarina is not busy sneaking extra fruits to her patients, she enjoys soccer, kick boxing, and writing short stories. Stay tuned, Katarina is planning to start bunny-yoga sessions at LIBEVC (after she convinces Dr. Malka first!).

Karen Mezynski Long Island Exotic Pet CSR

Karen Mezynski


Karen’s love for animals was evident from early on: as a child Karen’s pets included freshwater fish, newts, an albino clawed frog, cats and a dog. Karen graduated from Long Island University CW Post with a Bachelor’s Degree in Marine Biology, and is a certified Open Water SCUBA diver.   Karen volunteered for the New York Aquarium’s Animal Department, and was later hired as a Wild Animal Keeper. Karen’s nine years of service with the Wildlife Conservation Society includes experience with shark transport, sea lion training, and bottle feeding a 250 lb. walrus calf. In 2012 Karen took part in the Superstorm Sandy animal rescue efforts  which included saving displaced seahorses from flooded exhibit areas. In her downtime Karen enjoys yoga and physical fitness, as well as playing board games and spending time in nature with her daughter.

Emma Hooks Long Island Exotic Pet Veterinary Assistant

Emma Hooks

CSR/Veterinary Assistant

Emma has always had a passion for caring for animals. She has spent countless hours volunteering at local animal shelters, shadowing at a small animal clinic, and pet-sitting for friends back home in Texas. She recently graduated from Angelo State University with a B.S. in animal science, and plans on pursuing a DVM one day. Having spent most of her time around only cats and dogs, her interest in exotic animals blossomed when she served as an intern at the San Antonio Zoo. Emma spends most of her free time with her dog Aspen, drinking coffee, hiking or curled up in bed watching Netflix.

Isabel Fife Cook Long Island Exotic Pet CSR

Isabel Fife-Cook


Isabel earned her M.A. in animal studies from NYU, where she studied ethology and animal welfare science with a concentration in koi and goldfish behavior. Her post-graduate research objectives include investigating novel opportunities to species-specific environmental enrichment in aquaculture and improving husbandry standards for ornamental fishes. Isabel has been fascinated by animals for as long as she can remember, spending her childhood reading ZooBooks, sketching birds and turning over logs to search for hidden critters. As an adult, Isabel remains passionate about zoology, animal protection and science communication and plans on pursuing further education in veterinary medicine or research science. When she’s not at the clinic or writing papers Isabel enjoys drawing and painting, listening to podcasts, making fun of terrible movies with her partner and attempting to train her birds not to poop on the keyboard.

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Ally Kim

Veterinary Assistant

Ally has always loved caring for and interacting with animals. She has wanted to be a veterinarian for as long as she could remember. She is a recent graduate of Cornell University with a B.S. in Animal Science, and is currently applying to veterinary schools to continue pursuing her dream. She is ecstatic to be a part of the LIBEVC team, where her love for exotic animals has continued to blossom. In her free time, Ally loves weightlifting, listening to music, and traveling around the world.


Liza Retter

Veterinary Assistant

Liza is a graduate of Talent Unlimited High School with an arts endorsed diploma in dance. While training and pursuing a professional career as a ballet dancer, she has also been able to explore the passion she’s always had for animal care. Working at LIBEVC has given her the opportunity to work with the unique animals that she fell in love with as a kid. When Liza isn’t in ballet class or at the clinic, she loves to play video games and hang out with her two cats.

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David Delaney

Veterinary Technician

David has had an affinity for animals for as long as he can remember. After attending George Washington Carver High School’s Veterinary Science program he decided to continue his education as a Licensed Veterinarian Technician at LaGuardia Community College. He hopes to pursue a career as a Veterinarian working with exotics and knows that his time at LIBEVC will provide him with a strong foundation to do so. On his time off, David enjoys spending time with his two red-eared sliders, Shelldon and Shellby and his cat Edgar Allen Paw. He can also be found playing video games, polishing rocks, building figurines, and reading comic books. He is happy to be part of the LIBEVC family and looks forward to what the future holds. 

The Long Island Bird and Exotics Vet Clinic Team