Meet Our Team

Our Veterinarians

David Halpern

DVM & Owner

Education
Louisiana State University Veterinary School

Graduated Louisiana State University Veterinary School in 1986. Practice owner and medical director since 1988. He is also the co-owner of Quality Veterinary Care and West Hempstead Animal Hospital.

Dr. Halpern is very proud that his Daughter Amy has chosen to follow in his footsteps. Special interests in general medicine and exotics medicine.

Richard Valdes

DVM

Education
College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell

Graduated NYS College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell in Special interests in surgery. Works with exotics and bilingual in Spanish.

Zareen Mistry

DVM

Education
Veterinary School at Kansas State

Dr. Mistry was born and raised in Michigan. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Animal Physiology from Cornell University, then went on to veterinary school at Kansas State.

After completing an internship in Boston, she worked as an emergency and general practice vet for 5 yrs in New Jersey. In 2010, she got married and moved to Hong Kong with her husband. She moved to NY and joined the Lefferts team in 2012.

Her interests include internal medicine, dentistry, and ultrasounds. She lives in Long Island with her husband, 2 beautiful children, and yellow lab, Maggie Mae. She had the honor of being appointed Medical Director of the hospital in 2015.

Payal Mittal

DVM

Education
Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine

Dr. Payal Mittal was born and raised in Michigan. Dr. Mittal graduated from the University of Michigan with a BA in Psychology.

After a year, she decided to pursue her dream career as a veterinarian. Dr. Mittal graduated from Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine in 2010. Her adventure in veterinary school involved a clinical year at Louisiana State University. Her special interest includes surgery, internal medicine, and imaging.

She lives with her 2 cats (Kung Pao and Moonpie) in Manhattan and visits her family in Michigan whenever possible. She is very excited to join the wonderful staff here at Lefferts Animal Hospital.

Kevin Birchler

DVM

Education
University of Glasgow

Dr. Kevin Birchler began his experience with animals during his Bachelors in Biology at the University of Michigan, where his focus in ecology led him to field work with marine birds in Galapagos. Following 4 years of large animal experience managing a ranch with horses and alpacas, he completed his veterinary studies at the University of Glasgow.

The first 5 years of his veterinary career were spent at a small animal practice nearby his alma mater in Ann Arbor, and has now been a member of the Lefferts Family since 2018. His interests range from preventative and internal medicine, to radiology and general surgery.

He lives in nearby Queens with his wife and dog, always ready to explore their new surroundings.

Nori Acevedo

DVM

Education
Tuskegee University

Dr. Acevedo has returned to our practice after living abroad for 6 years. While in Australia she achieved membership in the Australia and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists radiology chapter and continues to refine her skills in radiology and ultrasonography.

Dr. Acevedo completed her undergraduate studies at Tulane University majoring in ecology and evolutionary biology. She received her doctorate in veterinary medicine from Tuskegee University and completed a specialty rotating internship at Veterinary Medical Center of Long Island before joining Lefferts Animal Hospital in 2010.

Dr. Acevedo was born in Santo Domingo, grew up in Florida, and happy to be back in NYC!

Zachary Zalewski

DVM

Education
Atlantic Veterinary College

Dr. Zach Zalewski grew up in Whitestone, New York. His love of animals began early in life. His childhood was spent caring for a variety of animals, including cats, dogs, and wildlife. Dr. Zalewski completed his undergraduate degree in Biology with a minor in Chemistry at St. John’s University in Jamaica, NY.

While attending St. John’s University, Dr. Zalewski began working as a Veterinary Assistant at sister practices in the Queens borough. While working there, he also rescued his grey tabby, Sophie.

This experience further solidified his desire to pursue a career in veterinary medicine. Dr. Zalewski graduated from Atlantic Veterinary College on Prince Edward Island, Canada in May 2020. Dr. Zalewski joined Leffert’s Animal Hospital in the fall of 2021.

When he’s not caring for others’ pets, Dr. Zalewski enjoys travel, cooking, hiking, kayaking, and fishing.

Our Staff

Andrea Pollard

Hospital Manager

Andrea was born and raised in Guyana until she was 13 then she migrated to New York. She attended Mercy College after high school, hoping to become a veterinarian, but life had different plans.

Andrea has been working with Lefferts Animal Hospital since March 1998. She started in the kennel, working her way up the ladder before becoming manager in November 2008.

She is always looking for ways to better herself as a leader, manager, and most of all as a human being. She is also known as ‘the puppy midwife’ for all C-sections.

In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, on and off Broadway plays, as well as spending time with her family and friends.

Lisa

Technician Staff

Denise

Technician Staff

Peggy

Technician Staff

Damaris

Technician Staff

Michelle

Technician Staff

Zenaida

Technician Staff

Nicole

Technician Staff

Qiara

Technician Staff

Cecilia

Technician Staff

Kathy

Receptionist

Lisa B.

Receptionist

Fifi

Receptionist

Merari

Receptionist

Briana

Receptionist

Naomi

Receptionist

Naomi

Receptionist

Yoseline

Receptionist

Ashley

Receptionist

Emily K.

Head Veterinary Assistant

Kayla

Veterinary Assistant

Justin

Veterinary Assistant

Johanna

Veterinary Assistant

Jillian

Veterinary Assistant

Sarah

Veterinary Assistant

Sussy

Veterinary Assistant

Naomi A.

Veterinary Assistant

Dylan

Veterinary Assistant

Ronette

Veterinary Assistant

Llawrence

Veterinary Assistant

The Kennel Crew

Louis

Head Kennel Attendant

Jennifer, Arianna, Alessa, Jennifer V., Justin W., Kenneth, & Bryan.

Kennel Attendants