Construction underway for JFK’s animal “ark”

Rendering shows dogs at play in Paradise 4 Paws pet exercise area.  

Over 53 million passengers passed through John F. Kennedy (JFK) Airport as of December 2014, according to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (Port Authority).

And while the number of pets that traveled through there was unavailable at press time, if the projected size of JFK’s new multi-purpose animal handling and air cargo facility, The Ark, is any indication, it’s a lot.

The Port Authority estimates that animal traffic through the facility, when completed, will include 70,000 animals a year, including smaller fauna, such as mice and birds, reported the Wall Street Journal. (The developer, Racebrook, estimates lower numbers: 7,000 to 10,000 horses, cows, and pigs, and 5,000 to 10,000 cats, dogs and other household pets annually.)

The Ark is touted as the world’s only privately-owned air-freight center, in-transit animal-handling facility, USDA-approved import quarantine, diagnostic lab, veterinary hospital, and companion animal boarding and grooming spa, reported the Commercial Observer.

And it covers a lot of ground.

The 178,00 square foot building sits on 14.4 acres. That acreage includes Paradise4Paws, a pet resort that covers 20,000 square feet and includes a spa and training center for cats and dogs. 

The companion animal veterinary hospital, LifeCare, will serve not only traveling clientele but also the general public with 24/7 service that includes general medicine, emergency, critical care, internal medicine, surgery, and advanced diagnostics, reported the Commercial Observer.

Construction began in late May with completion slated for first quarter of 2016.

The veterinary community was part of the planning process. Temple Grandin Livestock Handling Systems was involved in the design. Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine consulted and provided oversight during planning and into operations.