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New Scotland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, August 5, 2010

Voorhesseville to have veterinarians as Cheever and McCarthy plan new practice

By Jo E. Prout

VOORHEESVILLE —Local veterinarian Holly Cheever is opening The Village Animal Clinic here with her partner, Mike McCarthy, making theirs the only small-animal veterinary practice in the town of New Scotland.

McCarthy and Cheever worked together for six years at The Animal Hospital in Guilderland. When it was time for McCarthy’s contract to be renewed in June, he chose to leave, he said.

“It was a dispute over contracts, more than anything,” McCarthy said.

Cheever, who worked at the Animal Hospital for 20 years, said that she and McCarthy had different views of the practice than veterinarian Edward Becker; he founded The Animal Hospital in 1974. Cheever and McCarthy decided to leave and begin their own practice, she said, noting that the professional split was done amicably.

Becker did not return a call before press time. According to the Animal Hospital website, Becker remains in practice with his daughter, veterinarian Lexi Becker, and veterinarian Melinda Schwoegler.

Village practice

“I’ll be close to home, working with someone with whom I’m very compatible,” said Cheever who lives in New Scotland. “We reinforce each others’ strengths. We’re certainly in a lovely location.”

 The Village Animal Clinic is in a former auto garage, across the street from the Voorheesville Public Library on School Road. The site is currently under reconstruction, with a lot of the building being partitioned off into clinic rooms, McCarthy said. The outside is being refurbished, too, he said.

“It’s a pretty big investment, but it’s going to look good when it’s finished,” McCarthy said. “We hope that it’s going to be there a long time. My hope is that I would retire from there, and I’m in my early, early 40s.”

McCarthy said that construction should be finished by mid-September, but that he is not practicing while he waits.

“It’s very tough as a veterinarian with specialized equipment — x-ray machines, things of that nature,” McCarthy said.

“I really love Voorheesville,” Cheever said. “It’s a very charming, sweet, friendly village,” and the veterinary clinic will be an “appealing business to this community,” she said.

“One thing that Dr. Mike and I hope to do is to establish a truly welfare-based practice,” Cheever said. Neither doctor will perform tail docking, ear cropping, or declawing, which they cite as illegal in many European countries.

Cheever acts as an expert witness in animal abuse cases, and plans to continue that role, she said. She said that, in general, their clients have the same philosophies they do.

“We really are trying to promote animal welfare,” McCarthy said. “That’s why people would want to come to us.”


Cheever, who owns a small farm with livestock, and McCarthy, with training in exotic pets like snakes, lizards, birds, and ferrets, plan to help wildlife pro bono while they specialize in small companion pet care.

Both vets want to begin a shadowing program for middle- or high-school students to learn about careers in veterinary medicine. They were unable to offer shadowing at their previous practice because of liability concerns there, they said.

At their own clinic, Cheever said, “We’re not terribly worried about it. We just make [student visits] at times you don’t have dogs loose and unrestrained.”

Cheever and McCarthy also welcome preschool and elementary field trips.

“Both Mike and I look forward to working with children,” Cheever said, noting that the clinic will be both “an educational venue and a veterinary practice.”

“We’re very excited, and really looking forward to it,” she said. “This’ll be fun.”

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