Meet Our Veterinarians and Staff
Dr. Laurie Hess, DVM, Diplomate ABVP (Avian Practice)
Avian & Exotic Pet Veterinarian
Owner & Medical Director
Dr. Laurie Hess is board-certified by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners in avian (bird) medicine and served as the President of the Association of Avian Veterinarians from 2009-2010. She is also an active member of the Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians and the Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians.
After graduating summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa from Yale University, Dr. Hess received her veterinary medical degree from Tufts. She then completed a one-year internship and a two-year residency in avian and exotic pet medicine and surgery at the world-renowned Animal Medical Center in New York City.
Dr. Hess has lectured both nationally and internationally about exotic pet care and has published numerous articles and book chapters on birds and other exotic species.
She is especially interested in exotic pet nutrition. In the late 1990s, she completed groundbreaking nutrition research on the importance of pelleted diets in birds. She presented these findings both in Europe and in the U.S. and later published the research in 2002.
Dr. Hess is a guest exotic pet expert on Animal Planet’s exotic pet series “Little Pets 101” and “Peculiar Pets 101.” She has also appeared on Animal Planet in Drs. Foster and Smith’s TV series, “Faithful Friends,” and has been a guest on the “Martha Stewart Show,” discussing the importance of educating yourself about exotic pets before you get one. Dr. Hess has also appeared on CBS’s morning show, “The Doctors,” where she discussed exotic pets for people with allergies, and on Fox TV’s “Inside Edition,” where she discussed bird behavior. In addition, Dr. Hess has been a guest on both the WPIX Morning News in New York City and on the Fox morning show, “Good Day NY,” where she highlighted the benefits of exotic animals as pets. Dr. Hess has been a featured veterinarian on CBS’s popular news magazine show, “48 Hours,” and she appeared weekly as the “Exotic Pet Vet” on the New York/New Jersey/Connecticut cable station, RNN TV. Dr. Hess also discusses bird health on her monthly radio show, “Bird’s Eye View,” on www.petliferadio.com and makes guest appearances regularly on radio stations throughout the U.S. and Canada discussing exotic pet issues.
Dr. Hess has written several articles about exotic pets in syndicated columns nationwide and in well-known exotic pet magazines such as Bird Talk, Birds USA, and Critters Magazine. She also blogs regularly about exotic pet topics on well-known pet websites, including www.Vetstreet.com and www.birdchannel.com. She is a senior editor of the Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery, as well as a guest editor of the Journal of Exotic Pet Medicine, Veterinary Clinics of North America (Exotic Animal Series) and of Exotic DVM Magazine. She also has been published in internationally recognized veterinary journals including the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association and Veterinary Record.
Learn More About the Book!
Dr. Amanda Marino
Dr. Amanda Marino is originally from the Mahopac, NY. She began her veterinary career working as a veterinary assistant at South Putnam Animal Hospital in high school. She then went on to receive her undergraduate degrees in animal and poultry sciences and agriculture and applied economics from Virginia Tech. After graduation, she spent a year in the Adirondacks of upstate New York participating in research with the common loon. Dr. Marino attended veterinary school at Oklahoma State University. She completed a 1-year rotating internship at Ocean State Veterinary Specialists in East Greenwich, RI, as well as a specialty internship in exotic pet medicine at Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists in Houston, TX. While in veterinary school and her internships, she had also completed rotation at the Wildlife Center of Virginia, the Bronx Zoo, the Houston Zoo and Mystic Aquarium. She returned to Ocean State Veterinary Specialists to practice as an emergency doctor before coming to the Veterinary Center for Birds and Exotics to complete a two-year specialized avian medicine and surgery residency. Since she has completed her residency, she is working with us as a full-time associate veterinarian! Additionally, she will be taking the board certification exam to become a certified specialist avian and exotics vet in 2019. When not at work, Dr. Marino spends time with her rabbit, Reginald (Reggie), her chinchilla, Milton, and her mixed breed dog, Shep. She also enjoys anything outdoors and traveling.
Dr. Amanda Dewey
Originally from Los Angeles, Dr. Dewey completed both her undergraduate and veterinary medical degrees at UC Davis. She then went on to complete a one-year general medicine and surgery internship at VCA South Shore Animal Hospital in Weymouth, Massachusetts, followed by a one-year internship in avian and exotic animal medicine and surgery at the Animal Medical Center in New York City. During her undergraduate years, she became very interested in working with birds and other exotic animals while volunteering at a wildlife rehabilitation center where she worked with hawks, owls, and an occasional eagle. Dr. Dewey is especially interested in animal behavior and enjoys working with pet owners to solve their pets’ behavior problems. When she is not at the animal hospital, Dr. Dewey loves to spend time with her pets – 2 cats named Zoey and Momo and a rabbit named Bunnicula – and to go outside to hike, fish, and camp.
Dr. Rick Samu
Dr. Richard Samu is from Salem, Ohio. He originally attended the University of Cincinnati where he pursued astrophysics. However, after getting involved with a mentorship program at the Cincinnati Zoo, he became fascinated by the world of animals. While working as an educator and zookeeper, he became interested in wildlife conservation and medicine and decided to pursue a career in veterinary medicine. He attended the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland where he graduated in 2019. There, he completed zoo and wildlife externships in South Africa, Belize, Busch Gardens, ZooTampa, and the Naples Zoo. His favorite volunteer opportunity to date has been helping raise and rehabilitate orphaned Lesser Flamingo chicks during the 2018 drought in South Africa. He completed a rotating and emergency medicine internship at BluePearl Specialty Hospital in Tampa, Florida and has a strong interest in conservation, wildlife, and exotic animal medicine. He is currently working on his master’s degree in Conservation Medicine through the University of Edinburgh and is involved in ongoing research through Disney’s Animal Kingdom. When not at work, Dr. Rick enjoys playing soccer, ultimate frisbee, and hockey; traveling when able; and exploring the world around him.
Our Veterinary Support Staff
With a B.A. in management, Ashley moved back to New York after living in Chicago for the past four years. While growing up, she always showed an interest in animals, and when she was given the opportunity to work for a dog and cat hospital shortly after college graduation, she eagerly took it. At the Veterinary Center, Ashley is excited to apply her superb management and marketing skills to a specialty animal hospital. Her work at the Veterinary Center allows her to combine her passion for animals with her love for organization and event planning. Whenever there is an issue at the Veterinary Center, Ashley is the go-to person for problem-solving. When she’s not at work, Ashley enjoys spending time with her family and friends, sampling local craft beer, and photography.
Mary Ann Collins
Licensed Veterinary Technician
A lifelong Westchester County resident, Mary Ann attended SUNY Farmingdale as an “aggie” and planned on going into dairy farming. However, after she realized that cows were a 24/7 job, she turned her focus to small animals and exotics as a veterinary technician. After running a boarding kennel in Harrison, NY, Mary Ann returned to the veterinary technology world and worked in several small animal hospitals around Westchester and Connecticut where she gained invaluable experience working with birds and other exotic species. She lives in South Salem with her dog and two birds. When she’s not caring for all the needy wildlife that comes to her door, Mary Ann is at the Veterinary Center caring for all the exotic pets and helping us keep the hospital on track.
Licensed Veterinary Technician
Originally from Poughkeepsie, NY, Nina graduated from SUNY Ulster with a degree in veterinary technology. Nina has always loved exotic animals, growing up with birds and turtles, among other pets. She knew from childhood that she was destined to work with exotic animals and is thrilled to see so many different species every day at the Veterinary Center. Nina has three hermit crabs (Kevin, Bob, and Stuart), as well as a cat (Wilson) and a dog (Anabelle). When she isn’t chasing the doctors around the Veterinary Center to make sure they stay on track, Nina is either out hiking or doing crafts. The most laid back staff member at the Veterinary Center, Nina will be sure to greet you with a smile!
Zach is our superstar volunteer! When we saw how well he took care of his pets and his obvious passion for working with animals, we asked him to join our team. Zach comes to us with uniquely extensive experience working with animals—he has volunteered more than one-thousand hours at a nature center and has worked at a nature-based outreach education business. In May 2016, Zach won the Volunteer New York! Youth Leader Award for his outstanding volunteer service at the nature center. At school, Zach founded the Environmental Club and started a Zero-Waste Program while maintaining his grades. Zach is an aspiring veterinarian, and here at the Veterinary Center he is always busy with helping to keep us running smoothly. When not working on doing so, Zach can be seen observing appointments, procedures, and asking questions. He is currently working with Dr. Britton to research the blood proteins of raptors. His particular interests include zoo, exotic, and wildlife medicine.
Growing up in Westchester County, NY, Jessica has been interested in animals and animal care for as long as she can remember. Coming from a background in healthcare, working as a certified nursing assistant and a hemodialysis technician, Jessica has decided to switch career paths and enter the animal healthcare field. She is currently enrolled to become a licensed veterinary technician and hopes to use her skills here at The Veterinary Center once she is licensed. Jessica has two cats, an iguana, and a axolotl. When she is not busy with school or work, she enjoys reading, listening to music, and hiking.
Originally from Patterson, NY, Christina has been around and loved animals of all kinds for as long as she could remember, and she most likely will be the first voice you’ll hear when calling the Veterinary Center! She received her Bachelors Degree in Biology at Hartwick college; however, most of the courses she took there were animal-related. After graduating, Christina found her way to the Veterinary Center, where she realized becoming a veterinary technician was her calling. Currently, she is enrolled in the Penn Foster College Veterinary Technician Program. A reptile enthusiast, she has 2 bearded dragons, 2 leopard geckos, 2 western hognose snakes, and 2 poison dart frogs. As she always says, if she could have every animal that came into Center, she would!
Specialists We Work With
Marnin Forman, DVM, DACVIM
Dr. Forman is currently a staff internist at Cornell University Veterinary Specialists in Stamford, CT, and he visits the Veterinary Center for Birds & Exotics to perform abdominal ultrasound examinations. He is board-certified by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine. Dr. Forman received his DVM from Texas A&M University Veterinary School and then went on to complete a rotating internship in small animal medicine and surgery at The Animal Medical Center in New York City. In addition, he completed both a fellowship in nephrology and a residency in internal medicine at the University of California, Davis. Dr. Forman then worked as a staff internist in a large private specialty practice where he was involved in collaborative studies with veterinarians at Cornell University, the Ohio State University, the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine, and Idexx Laboratories. In addition to his focus on gastroenterology, Dr. Forman is trained in endocrinology, pulmonology, immunology, hematology, critical care medicine, nutrition, and management of infectious disease. Dr. Forman has lectured throughout the United States on multiple internal medicine topics including pancreatitis, acute and chronic kidney diseases, liver disease and nasal disorders, Cushing’s syndrome, and diabetes mellitus.
Anthony J. Fischetti, DVM, MS, DACVR
Dr. Fischetti is head of the Diagnostic Imaging Service at The Animal Medical Center in New York City. He is board-certified by the American College of Veterinary Radiologists and has studied thousands of x-rays and CT scans from exotic pets of all kinds. He reviews both digital x-rays and CT scan results from the Veterinary Center for Birds & Exotics on an as needed basis and usually is able to report his findings to the Center’s doctors within 24-48 hours. He received his veterinary medical degree from Cornell School of Veterinary Medicine and then completed a rotating internship in small animal medicine & surgery at the University of Pennsylvania. He then achieved a master’s degree from The Ohio State University, where he stayed on to complete his radiology residency training. In addition to radiology, he has strong interests in MRI and CT scanning and abdominal ultrasonography.
Kerry Heuter, DVM, DACVIM
Dr. Heuter is a staff internal medicine specialist. He attended Boston University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology and has special training in dialysis. Dr. Heuter is proficient in gastroduodenoscopy, colonoscopy, rhinoscopy, bronchoscopy, cystoscopy, ultrasound and many other procedures. Special research and clinical interest areas include nephrology, urology, endoscopy and teaching. Dr. Heuter has published many scientific articles and has lectured extensively on a variety of internal medicine topics.