Our Veterinary Staff
Amanda Billinger, Practice Manager
Amanda got on board with us in November 2017. Originally from Alaska, she obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Marketing from Southern Utah University, and has earned several awards and certifications in her field since then. She got started on her career path at a young age, due to her love of horses and going to horse camp, and volunteering at shelters. She has always been passionate about keeping pets healthy. Amanda has had many exciting experiences in the veterinary field, but one that stands out in her mind is when she got to meet and work with the great-great-great-great grandchild of the racehorse Secretariat, who famously won the Triple Crown in 1973. Her favorite part about working at CMAH is being a part of a growing hospital that always puts quality care first. Amanda has a special place in her heart for Husky puppies, but she’s happy to share her home with Onyx, a Shih Tzu/Yorkie mix.
April Bornhoeft, Head Veterinary Nurse
April, a team member at Coal Mine Animal Hospital since September 2007, earned her education from Metro University. She enjoys working with animals, helping seriously ill pets recover, and performing dental cleanings and dental X-rays. She lives with her husband Joe, their dogs Jebus and Katze, and their cats, Chester and Herrman. When she isn’t working, she enjoys hiking, camping, reading, climbing, and backpacking.
Melissa Casey, Veterinary Nurse
Melissa has been a part of our team since July 2011. She earned her associates degree in animal science from Bel-Rea Institute of Animal Technology. It was her love for animals that brought her to this career and she has no regrets! One of the cool experiences she has had on the job was taking X-rays on a sedated baby tiger. She loves every aspect of her current position at Coal Mine Animal Hospital. Melissa is married to the love of her life, Charlie, and they have two daughters, Kayla and Kaitlin. They also have an animal family, including Dutchess, a black Lab; Minnie, a hound mix; Friskie, a shorthair feline; Simon, an orange tabby; and Lily and Ginger, two Guinea pigs. Melissa’s hobbies include spending time with family, supporting her kiddos in their activities, and going to Zumba.
Sarah Roper, Veterinary Nurse
Sarah, who earned her veterinary assistant degree after attending Arapahoe Community College and Penn Foster, has been with Coal Mine Animal Hospital since July 2011. She loves the fast-paced job she has here, enjoys helping owners care for their animals, and loves having new experiences every day. She spends her life outside of work-family with her wonderful husband, Nick, and their pets Toaster, a miniature schnauzer, and Sherman, a Cockatiel. When she isn’t working, she working on their house, crafting, and planning for the future.
Kristine Baker, Veterinary Nurse
Kristine joined the Coal Mine Animal Hospital team in August 2017. She is currently enrolled with Penn Foster College and working towards her Associates of Applied Science in Veterinary Technology. She chose to enter the veterinary field because she loves helping animals, and enjoys getting to learn so many new things and working with exotic pets. One of her favorite experiences in the field includes getting to work with a baby bobcat. Kristine has a daughter, Skylar, and three pocket pets: a pair of guinea pigs named Daisy and Luna, and a dwarf hamster named Robo. In her spare time, she enjoys playing with her daughter, reading, doing crafts and being outside in the sun.
Ashleigh Pritchard, Certified Veterinary Technician
Ashleigh always knew she wanted to work in the animal field. Growing up, she used to sneak animals in from outside to try to keep as a pet… which her mom was definitely not a fan of. Her family got their first dog when Ashleigh was in kindergarten, and one of her favorite things to do was to go to the veterinary appointments. She loved being able to learn and ask the doctor questions. In high school, she learned that she could go to school to become a veterinary technician, and she knew that was the perfect career for her! Ashleigh earned her Bachelor of Science in biology from Austin Peay State University and her Associate of Applied Science in veterinary technology from Chattanooga State Community College. The most rewarding part of her career is being able to help animals in need and bring comfort to their owners.
Ashleigh and her husband, Eric, have three pets of their own including Guinevere, a Golden Retriever mix, and two tortie cats, Ivy and Clover, who are sisters. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, hiking, and going on walks.
Michelle Biles, Certified Veterinary Technician
Michelle was born and raised in Colorado. She graduated from Bel-Rea in 2008 with an associate degree in animal technology. Michelle is currently enrolled at MSU Denver, where she is working towards a BS in biology and a minor in business management. Her professional interests include surgery (soft tissue and orthopedic), parasitology, and emergency and critical care.
Michelle lives with her husband and daughter, and together they have a Red Heeler named Cricket and a cat named Snoops. In her spare time, she enjoys playing volleyball, reading, swimming, hiking, and spending time with her family.
Nico Mejia, Veterinary Technician
Nico was born and raised in Colombia and came to the US in 2008. He knew he wanted to work with animals since he was 4 years old. After 3 years in pre-vet school, Nico decided to no longer pursue becoming a veterinarian and instead chose to put 110% towards being the best vet tech he could be. He earned his CVA in high school and went to SFA for his ANS/Pre-vet program.
Nico’s love for animals inspires him, and his work in veterinary medicine has given him some memorable experiences. He will never forget working with a family whose dog was not doing well. The owners later gave Nico a beautiful letter that he always keeps with him.
Outside of working at the practice, Nico enjoys the outdoors. He loves hiking, swimming, ultimate frisbee, dog training, painting, and drawing. He and his girlfriend Lexi have 3 pets: Ossy, an Australian Shepherd; Miel, a Terrier mix; and Kevin, a Corgi.
Amber Deets, Veterinary Technician
Amber began her career of working with animals at a horseback riding ranch in Estes Park. Caring for sick and injured horses on the ranch sparked her interest in veterinary medicine, and before long, she obtained her associate degree in veterinary technology. One of Amber’s favorite things about working at Coal Mine is getting to see the smiles on owners’ faces when their pets have been helped. She has pets of her own; an Australian Shepherd named Diesel, and a domestic shorthair cat named Oliver.
Amber is proud of all that she has accomplished so far, including graduating college and moving across the country (to Pittsburgh) and back by herself. In her spare time, she enjoys anything outdoors, including hiking and camping, and going to concerts.
Marissa Zollars, Veterinary Receptionist
Marissa chose the veterinary industry because she loves making connections with people and their pets. For her, helping pet owners understand how to keep their companions safe and make healthy choices for them is extremely rewarding. When she’s not working, Marissa enjoys hiking, nature photography, reading, and drawing. She loves being outdoors and going to bluegrass concerts with her amazing husband, Merrit, and watching classic Western movies from the 40s and 50s. Marissa and her husband have one four-legged family member, a German Shorthaired Pointer named Luger.
Lori Scott, Receptionist
Lori, who has been with the Coal Mine Animal Hospital team since MID- 2015, chose her career in the veterinary field because of a love for animals. She has enjoyed her experiences with the animals, especially being able to handle wildlife, seeing all the different breeds of dogs and cats, and of course interacting with them. Lori is married to her husband, Rick, and they have two sons, Michael and Stephen. They also have two dogs name Indiana and Doohan. When she isn’t working, Lori enjoys gardening, camping, and reading.
Shannon Ripley, Receptionist
Shannon received her A.A.S. in veterinary technology from Bel Rea. Having grown up in a rural farming town, Shannon always knew she wanted to be an advocate for animals in some way. Her very first job was bathing dogs, and that sparked her interest even more. After working other jobs, Shannon realized she missed working with animals, so she enrolled in a veterinary technician program that led her to where she is today. She finds it extremely rewarding to be able to use her education and experience to help clients, friends, and family care for their pets.
Shannon and her partner Brady have 3 pets: 2 orange tabby mixes named Wuzzy and Winston, and a Shih Tzu named Su. Her hobbies include gardening, nature walks, and listening to podcasts. Shannon is also a big fan of snow days; she loves the calmness and quiet of snowfall.
Tawna Bond, Receptionist
Tawna received her business degree from Mesa State and has worked in the veterinary field for 24 years in various positions. She has always loved animals, and loves going to work each day and getting to help people and their animals! Tawna and her husband Daven are soon-to-be grandparents and share their home with 2 Golden Retrievers, Sunshine and Grace.
Outside of work, Tawna’s hobbies include spending time with family, doing yoga, horseback riding, walking, and breeding healthy, beautiful Golden Retrievers.
Forever in Our Hearts