Our Team of Experts
Dr. Kevin Cooper, DVM — Veterinarian
Dr. Kevin Cooper was born and raised in southeast Kansas. He graduated from Kansas State University in 2006. After working in western Kansas for two years, Dr. Cooper moved to Independence and has been a Barta Animal Hospital team member since 2008. Dr. Cooper is a mixed animal veterinarian with experience in many species, but he is especially interested in small animal surgery and cow-calf production medicine.
A “normal day” can include anything from routine and orthopedic surgeries, caring for dogs and cats, pulling calves, working herds of cattle, or a trip to the zoo. He has the philosophy that if you can find it in Kansas, our team will do our best to keep it healthy. When he is not at work, Dr. Cooper enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter. He especially enjoys taking his daughter fishing, kayaking, and hiking. Dr. Cooper also likes to do woodworking and always has a list of projects he is working on.
Dr. Laura Erbe, DVM — Veterinarian
Dr. Laura Erbe is glad to be fulfilling her childhood dream of working with animals. She is from Altoona, Kansas, and joined the team after graduating from Kansas State University in 2019. Dr. Erbe is happy to be living back in her native area, along with her leopard gecko and a three-toed box turtle.
She enjoys crocheting and participating in living history from the trapper/fur trader era in her spare time. Dr. Erbe is particularly interested in small animal preventative medicine and all aspects of exotic pet medicine.
Paula Tow — Practice Manager
Paula Tow is our practice manager, and she has been with Barta Animal Hospital since 1984. She has always loved animals and enjoys seeing the bonds that they form with their owners. Throughout her hospital journey, Paula has definitely seen the ins and outs of veterinary medicine, and she strives to help make patients and their owners feel better.
When Paula is not working, she spends her free time with her husband, Dan, and a German shepherd named Riggs.
Molly — Lead Veterinary Assistant
Molly is from Conway Springs, Kansas growing up with three siblings. She joined Barta Animal Hospital in May of 2017 after graduating from the veterinary technician program here in Independence.
Molly is our lead veterinary assistant and enjoys working with mixed animals. She maintains great composure in every obstacle and challenge that she faces each day. Molly is everyone’s ray of sunshine!
She is an assistant cheer coach at our community college. When she is not working at the hospital, she enjoys outdoor activities with her dog (Rosie), spending time with her family, and reading murder mystery books.
Haley — Veterinary Assistant
Haley was born and raised on a small market farm with her family in a small town in Central Oregon’s mountains. She has always spent her life around animals. Haley joined Barta Animal Hospital in December 2019 as a veterinary assistant.
When she is not working, you can find Haley enjoying the outdoors. From hunting and fishing to riding horses, dirt bikes, and hiking, Haley does it all. When she is not here at the clinic, she is probably at the lake with her husband, two daughters, and dogs enjoying Kansas’s outdoors and summer heat.
Victoria — Veterinary Assistant
Victoria started working at Barta Animal Hospital as a veterinary assistant in May 2019. She graduated from Independence Community College in the same year.
At home, Victoria has a dog, cat, and horse who all love playing games. In her free time, she enjoys equine vaulting, reading, and spending time with family.
Heather — Kennel Technician
Heather moved to Independence from Alaska to participate in the Illinois Central College veterinary technician program. She joined Barta Animal Hospital in September 2019 as a kennel technician.
Growing up in Alaska, Heather loves the outdoors and loves anytime she gets the chance to hike, camp, or take her dogs walking. Her dog, Ani, came with her from Alaska, and she got her other fur babies because of her opportunities here at the clinic. Heather loves finding new dog parks to take her dogs to and discovering new walking trails around Independence. Her experiences here in Kansas will last a lifetime, and she says it’s wonderful to meet so many great people.
Autumn — Kennel Assistant
Autumn joined our team here at Barta Animal Hospital in 2017. She graduated from the veterinary technician program in Independence, Kansas.
She worked as a veterinary assistant for five years before coming to Barta Animal Hospital. Autumn works part-time as a kennel assistant and loves all types of animals, having six of her own. In her spare time, she loves 4-wheeling, swimming, and painting.
Chris — Client Services Representative
Chris came to Barta Animal Hospital in 2015, bringing over 34 years of experience working for an orthopedic surgeon here in Independence. She specializes in communication with our clients after visits and procedures are done in the clinic.
She is most often found behind the scenes ensuring things are running as smoothly as possible. Chris has enjoyed the transition from orthopedic medicine to veterinary medicine. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband (John), three granddaughters, and her beloved 15-year-old dachshund, Abby.