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Horses in Export Alley are given ample hay and water while they rest in bedded stalls. A four-hour rest period before being loaded into jet stalls and flying is required, but many spend the night before catching their flight. An office on the premises is maintained for the USDA vet’s lab.
To demonstrate the bio-security of these import stalls, imagine for a moment that you are working at The ARK. To go into one of the horse’s stalls, you must remove your clothes, take a shower, and then don a biosecure Tyvec coverall. Once you have finished with that horse, the same procedure is repeated at the next stall. This is to insure that nothing gets carried from one horse to another. Each stall has an anteroom where these clothes are stored so that each set remains with just one horse.
When horses are hand walked on the non-slip rubber footing in the aisles, the floors are then cleaned and disinfected each time.
As many horses coming in for export have their own grooms, there is a lounge area and showers available for them. The ARK makes sure to provide the same level of comfort for the humans that it does for the horses!
Director of Administration for The ARK is Kristen McGowan, while Sue Bruns is the Director of Animal Care. Kristen has been riding since she was nine. Attending LIU Post College, she graduated with a B.S. in Business Administration and Management. While attending school she captained the Post Equestrian team and began her 11-year long equine career at North Shore Equestrian Center. Kristen joins The ARK Team with a wealth of knowledge in stable management and equine welfare.
Sue Bruns graduated from UNH with a B.S. in Animal Science and a Masters in Education. Working for U.S. Olympian Carol Lavell, she learned the finer points of caring for valuable equines at home, on the road, and during international travel. Sue’s last position was with LSU’s School of Veterinary Medicine, teaching veterinary students appropriate management and handling protocols.
The ARK isn’t just for horses. For small animals traveling in cargo (and if they need quarantine, they have to go in cargo) there is Pet Oasis.
Animals traveling by plane cannot sit in a warehouse for more than four hours. At JFK they can stay in the comfort of The ARK’s custom bonded warehouse facility. Rather than sitting in a non-climate controlled warehouse without anyone to look after them, in the Pet Oasis they can be taken out of their crates, relieved, given water, and food if the owner wishes, and veterinary treatment if needed.
A vet will be on the premises 24/7 until Red Bank Veterinary Hospital opens in the facility. Vet techs, a reception staff and animal handlers are all aboard to care for the animals and they make it their mission to give your pet the same love and attention that you would.
There are 47 dog and 12 cat kennels available, as well as room for dogs to be walked. Pets coming in are examined immediately for any infectious diseases, so disease can be stopped right in its tracks. Owners of any animals are welcome to send notes regarding care, and of any concerns they have. The staff realizes that having their animals shipped is a particularly stressful time for owners, and does all they can to help ease these concerns.
Another facility within The ARK is Paradise for Paws.
It’s the perfect place to board your animals while you’re away. If you’re going on vacation, finding someone responsible and caring to attend to your animals can be the hardest part of leaving. Now you can drop your dog or cat (or even bird—but maybe not your tropical fish) off at JFK before you catch your flight, and pick it up when you return. What could be easier?
Unlike typical kennels, there is a lot of stimulation available. There are even bone-shaped pools for dogs to play in.
As Kristen notes, “The goal is to set the gold standard in transporting and handling animals.” Kristen and Sue know how important it is for people to be able to trust someone else with their animal. The whole team at The ARK is dedicated to providing the best possible experience for both the animals and those who love them.
With thanks to Eastern Hay for bringing us this article.