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Animal Kingdom will branch out

By Lori Lindner
North Liberty Leader

NORTH LIBERTY– One local veterinarian is expanding his kingdom.
At last Tuesday’s meeting, the North Liberty City Council approved a site plan revision for Animal Kingdom Veterinary Care Center to expand its current facility. Owner Dr. Wayne Ahern, DVM, told the council that it was time for the 20-year-old building at the corner of Liberty Way and Penn Street to be updated.
“When I bought the building 20 years ago it was in a cornfield at the time,” said Ahern. “It needs to be freshened up.”
The veterinary business has operated in that location since 1992. Dr. Ahern purchased the business from previous owner Dr. Puffer, in 2004.
The animal care center has grown to include three veterinarians, two registered veterinary technicians and two support staff who work out of two exam rooms. The team provides comprehensive veterinary services, including general and orthopedic surgeries, dental care, an in-house laboratory and digital radiology. Dr. Anna Falk specializes in animal acupuncture, chiropractic and alternative medicine.
The expansion plan calls for 1,000 square feet to be added to the south and west sides of the building, with extensive masonry added to the façade, additional landscaping along Penn Street and a new entry.
“We are adding exam rooms and improving traffic of people and animals as they come in and out of the building,” Ahern said. “It will be a great improvement for us.”
The council had no questions about Dr. Ahern’s plans for expansion, but North Liberty Mayor Tom Salm said the city was glad it was being done.
“We appreciate your desire to freshen it up,” Salm said. “It shows that you really enjoy being here in North Liberty and we appreciate that.”
“Oh, it’s a fantastic place to be, and the location on Penn Street is second to none,” Ahern replied.
Ahern said after the meeting he has seen a significant increase in business since taking over Animal Kingdom.
“In general, we’ve seen growth every year since I bought the practice,” Ahern said in a telephone interview Wednesday. “We have outgrown our exam rooms, and this will give us a more modern surgery and treatment area.”
The business will stay open during construction, with a targeted completion date in the spring.
The council unanimously approved the revised site plan.
“It’s going to make a big change on that property,” said North Liberty city planner Dean Wheatley.