Staff Bios

The staff of The Center for Avian and Exotic Medicine celebrates the sacred bond between exotic pets and their owners. We strive to protect this relationship by nurturing an open, honest alliance with our clients and adhering only to the highest ethical and medical standards befitting these magnificent companions.


Board certification is given to veterinarians who have completed additional training in one of the following categories: Avian practice, Exotic Companion Mammal Practice, Reptile and Amphibian practice. They have also fulfilled the stringent requirements mandated by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (ABVP). The ABVP is accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association to provide board certifications in ten species categories.

For more information visit the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners.

Veterinary Nursing Staff

Lorelei Tibbetts, LVT, VTS(Clinical Practice-Exotic Companion Animal), has been with the hospital as the practice manager and nursing team member since it opened in 2004. Originally from Boston, she received her BA in journalism from Boston University. Lorelei’s lifelong love of animals, especially birds, eventually pulled her away from writing into the field of veterinary medicine. After graduating from the Veterinary Technology program at Mercy College in 2001, Lorelei has been working exclusively with birds and exotic pets. In addition to being an outstanding nurse with many years experience, Lorelei’s special interest in exotic animals has allowed her to contribute to the field as an educator. She has been an adjunct teacher of avian and exotic medicine at a local veterinary technology program, plus lectured at several national veterinary symposiums. She also was a founding member and is current Vice-Chair of the Academy of Veterinary Technicians in Clinical Practice (AVTCP). The AVTCP is the ninth officially recognized veterinary technician specialty (VTS) and is modeled after the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners (ABVP). She shares her home with a Jenday Conure,a Double Yellow Headed Amazon, and a Green Wing Macaw.

Krissy 014Kristine Castillo, LVT earned her BS in veterinary technology from Mercy College in 2011 and joined our team before she even finished school!  We first met her when she elected to undergo a rigorous 6 month externship with us in her final year of college.  After getting a taste of how amazing exotic pets were, she knew she was hooked!   Her heart belongs to all things ferret- but recently, as often happens, she has been bonding with the large psittacines here… we shall see if her family will grow!
303435_731575260709_328932546_nKatie-Jo grew up on a small family farm on Cape Cod and started volunteering as a wildlife field researcher in 1998, specifically working with coyotes. She attended Salem State College for a degree in Glassblowing and Biology, and is now pursuing her veterinary technician degree at Cedar Valley College, working on receiving her license in Veterinary Technology. After school, Katie-Jo hopes to travel through South America and Africa for a few years to continue her work with exotic animals. With a huge love for large predatory mammals and birds, she hopes to open a raptor rehabilitation center in the future. She lives in Brooklyn and shares her home with two bearded dragons, and a chihuahua named Polo.
734758Anita Laperuta, LVT found us when she applied here as an intern from Mercy College, looking for a hospital that specialized in exotics.  She completed a semester long program here, after which we decided we could not let her go!  She finished school, earned her bachelor’s degree as well as her New York State LVT, and has been working here since.  Her extended animal family includes a rabbit, 2 rats, a dog, cat, and newest addition of 2 budgies!!

Front Desk Staff

After studying Human Behavior at Long Island University, Tracy decided to follow one of her passions and attend Culinary School. Our “resident chef” says that working at the Center for Avian and Exotic Medicine allows her the opportunity to combine both of her passions: the culinary arts and love for animals. Whether preparing a gourmet meal for her family and friends or for a catering job, Tracy always shares some treats with her Rottweiler, Zora.

Ann is a native of New England but has been raising her family in Woodside, Queens for 16 years. Before having children, Ann had a 15-year career working in various professional administrative positions. Now that her 2 sons are interested in life other than their mother, she has joined our front desk team! Ann’s love of animals began recently when her family adopted 2 mix breed pit bull puppies (Buttercup and Flora), and now that she is working with all of our exotic patients, she is learning about animals she never knew existed! Ann is a proud New Yorker and loves sightseeing all around the city and documenting her exploits as an amateur photographer.
Veterinary Staff Sapna
Sapna grew up in Staten Island and recently earned her Bachelor’s degree from New York University. Knowing she would need a good foundation in understanding people in order to be the best veterinarian she could be, she majored in psychology, but she also focused on the sciences to prepare her for the grueling application process of vet school. Now she begins learning about how a hospital works while she takes the rest of her pre-requisites to apply. You can find her either caring for the animals as one of our veterinary assistants, or handling things at the front desk!


september 2014 007
Marla, a native of New York City, has always been an animal lover.  Her role at the Center is vital- not only does she manage the cleanliness of the hospital for our clients, but she is responsible for making sure the animal’s cages and environment is kept sanitary and in top condition!  She recently rescued a cockatiel and in addition spending her time training him, she loves drawing, tattoo art, and is a master cake decorator!