Our Team

We’re dedicated to providing the best care for your pet!

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.


Dr. Jessica Wilczek, DVM — Veterinarian

Jessica joined Barta Animal Hospital in the winter of 2022. Jessica comes from a family farming background in central Oklahoma and has spent most of her life around animals. 

She grew up with a passion to work with, help, and care for animals with a goal to be the best veterinarian she can be for the community. Her dream is to work in a rural mixed animal practice. She enjoys helping clients care for their livestock and their pets to create the best possible life together.
Jessica graduated from Oklahoma State University with a bachelor’s degree in animal science and in 2022 achieved her doctorate in veterinary medicine. 

When she is not working, Jessica enjoys reading and working on craft projects as well as cuddling on the couch to watch a movie with her two pets, a tabby cat named Hawkeye and an Australian Cattle Dog and Border Collie mix named Quigley.

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 Technician

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.

Adyson— Veterinary Assistant

Adyson recently joined Barta animal hospital as a vet assistant. She is currently in school at Cowley Community College to receive her associate’s degree in farm and ranch management in the fall. She will then advance on to the Penn Foster program and Vet Tech program at Independence Community College. She has always loved animals and being able to work with them and help them in any way that she can. Adyson has 3 fur babies, a blue heeler named Sadie Mae, one border collie named Millie and the other one is a border collie\hanging tree mix named Liz. Outside of work, she likes to spend time with family, riding her horse and working cattle with her fiancé, and while doing all of this she is planning for her wedding on Sep 24, 2022!

Katie— Veterinary Assistant

Katie joined the Barta Animal Hospital in June. She is originally from Salisbury, NC. She grew up on a small family farm where she discovered her passion for animals.

Katie began working at a vet clinic shortly after getting her first puppy, June. She quickly found her love for veterinary medicine but most of all the relationships she built with her team and pet owners. Katie began her career in dog training in 2020 alongside her fiance and moved to Kansas in 2021 to pursue their dreams of operating an full time training kennel. Katie also plans on advancing her education in service dog training.

Katie has 3 labs, Raven, Speck, and June along with 3 cats, Mossy, Oakley and Ducky. When not hanging out with animals all day she enjoys her time on the lake, gardening, hunting, fishing and spending quality time with friends and family.


Sydney— Kennel Technician

Sydney joined the Barta Animal Hospital team at the end of 2022 as a Kennel Tech. She is currently enrolled in the vet nursing program at ICC where she hopes to pursue her dreams of working with animals.

Animals have always been a part of her world growing up. She owns many animals including her dog Mika, her snake Medusa, her hedgehog Tator, and a bird named Blu, as well as many other outdoor pets. When your pet is at the clinic they are well taken care of and given extra love by Sydney.

When she is not at work you can find her exploring the outdoors with all her dogs or feeding animals. Sydney also has a passion for drawing, painting, photography, and crafts.


Allie— Kennel Technician

Allie joined the Barta Animal Hospital in September 2023.  She previously worked as a dietary aide at a nursing home for a year before following her passion for working with animals.

Animals have always been a part of her life.  She has a Pomeranian named Millie and a Boston Terrier named Chance. 

Whether your pet is at the clinic for the day or boarding for a week they will get the attention and extra treats they desire.  Pet parents approved of course.

When Allie is not working, she is spending time with her husband, Mel, and two daughters.  She has a passion for writing short stories and watching episodes of The Incredible Dr. Pol.

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.