Onondaga County Legislators Tour Rosamond Gifford Zoo Animal Health Center

Onondaga County Legislator Cody Kelly (14th District) recently got a glimpse of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo’s new Animal Health Center.

“I am forever in awe of the diversity of life on our planet,” he says.

Lawmaker Kelly was at the zoo for a meeting of the County Legislature Facilities Committee. Kelly and other members in attendance learned about recent improvements to the zoo and toured the 20,000 square foot facility which officially opened in April.

County lawmakers visit the zoo’s health center

The Animal Health Center can treat animals of all sizes and species, from birth to retirement age. Large windows allow zoo visitors to look directly into the treatment rooms, an operating room, and the nursery to observe animal care.

People can also see how meals are prepared for animals and ongoing medical research.

“The Animal Health Center was a colossal project that spanned nearly 10 years,” says Rosamond Gifford Zoo Director Ted Fox. “The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) noted that our original clinic was not large enough for a facility and animal collection of our size during our 2013 accreditation inspection.”

Soon after, research and planning began for the new facility. In 2019, with plans in hand, zoo officials were ready to petition the Onondaga County Legislature to approve $8 million in funding. Lawmakers gave the project a boost.

“When designing the Animal Health Center, we knew we wanted it to be a state-of-the-art facility so that we could continue the important work of exceptional animal care and education for our guests and future generations of veterinarians and animal health professionals,” adds Fox. “So happy to report that – we’ve knocked him out of the park!!”

The Animal Health Center is now the largest zoological medical center in all of New York State outside of New York. It also serves as a teaching hospital for Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, providing students with the opportunity to gain valuable real-world experience.

“The Animal Health Center will not only help ensure that our animals receive the highest quality care, but will also provide research and educational opportunities to advance the field of veterinary medicine in the future,” said said lawmaker Kelly.

Fox adds, “The zoo’s new Animal Health Center is a great testament to the positive, collaborative relationship the zoo and lawmakers have always had. The zoo has always been one of our community’s great cultural destinations and we couldn’t say that without the support of the Legislative Assembly.

“It’s great to visit our county’s parks and facilities and see the projects supported by the Legislative Assembly,” said committee chair Debra Cody (5th District). “This month, we are very excited to visit the zoo and see firsthand the unique and educational experience the Animal Health Center offers.”