Delivering Pet Care With  heart

Founded by veterinarians in 2015, American Veterinary Group is committed to putting people and the pets they love first. We believe the human-animal bond only deepens when veterinarians and their team can focus on what they love to do – delivering compassionate, exceptional medical care!

Meet Our Team

Our leadership team takes a hands-on & high-touch approach to helping your hospital continue to grow. We bring over 200 years of collective experience from all aspects of the veterinary industry: clinical, marketing, hospital operations, recruiting, training, accounting, and human resource functions.

  • photo of Craig Niebur's Pet'

    Craig Niebur

    Chief Executive Officer

    Craig has spent his entire career working in human and veterinary healthcare services companies with high growth profiles, serving in a variety of roles including finance, operations, and executive leadership. These experiences have continually reinforced his view of the importance of placing clinical excellence and patient interaction at the forefront of daily operations and development efforts. Most recently, Craig helped expand a veterinary services provider from operations in six states generating $9 million in annual revenues, to operations in 34 states across the United States and nearly $70 million in revenue over a six-year period. Craig spends his free time with his wife and the busy schedules of twin daughters.

  • photo of Jim Herring's Pet'

    Jim Herring

    Chief Development Officer

    Jim has worked in the Animal Health Industry since 1974 for manufacturers, distributors, and also owned his own veterinary distribution company during this time frame. He worked in many leadership roles throughout the years, including Sales Representative, Branch Manager, Regional Sales Director, Vice President of Sales and, most recently, Vice President of Business Development. Jim helped build Webster Veterinary Supply from a regional distributor to the largest animal health company in the world (Patterson Animal Health). He also developed the Patterson University educational program in order to help the veterinary profession manage their practices more effectively, now and in the future.

    Jim and his wife, Carletta, have three children and six grandchildren that keep him busy when he is not working.

  • photo of Jim Dobies, DVM's Pet'

    Jim Dobies, DVM

    President of UrgentVet

    Dr. Jim Dobies brings more than 20 years of clinical experience to the AVG team. He graduated from The Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine in 1998. After graduation, he worked as an associate at a multi-location, multi-doctor general practice outside Charlotte, NC. In 2005, Dr. Dobies started his own primary care practice in Belmont, NC. Over the next ten years, he served on the executive board of the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Association and on a number of local non-profit boards of directors. He’s also an active Ohio State alum and sits on the Advisory Board for the Gaston College Veterinary Technology Program. Dr. Dobies founded UrgentVet, the first dedicated urgent care for pets, in 2015. He merged his practices with AVG in 2018 and assumed the role of president of the UrgentVet division.

    Dr. Dobies lives in Charlotte with his wife, Judy, their three sons, two dogs, two cats, and a hamster.

  • photo of Christopher Smith, DVM's Pet'

    Christopher Smith, DVM

    Chief Medical Officer

    Dr. Christopher Smith obtained his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and Master of Agribusiness degree from the University of Florida and has worked in the veterinary profession for the past 18 years. Dr. Smith’s clinic practice focuses on small animal medicine and surgery, with a special interest in exotic species. His style of clinic practice aims to provide excellent patient care while meeting the unique needs of individual clients. During his spare time, Dr. Smith volunteers with several state agencies as a consultant on wildlife issues unique to Florida. This includes monitoring the health of the threatened American crocodile population, as well as ongoing research on the invasive Burmese Python and Argentine Tegu. Dr. Smith and his wife, also a veterinarian, share their home with multiple rescue animals: three dogs, two cats, a sulfur-crested cockatoo, rabbit, guinea pigs, leopard tortoises, iguana, and turtles.

  • photo of Fred Weidig's Pet'

    Fred Weidig

    Chief Financial Officer

    Fred Weidig, the Chief Financial Officer of American Veterinary Group, is an accomplished executive leader who has partnered with CEOs and other corporate leaders in fast-paced, high growth environments working for companies that are backed by private equity or publicly listed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

    Fred brings over 20 years’ experience in both public and industry accounting and finance roles, including 10 years at NeoGenomics, Inc. (NYSE:NEO) where he served as Corporate Controller and Principal Accounting Officer.

    Fred earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Merrimack College, graduating Summa Cum Laude, and has an active CPA license with the state of Massachusetts.

    Fred and his wife share their home with a dog, three cats, and an amazon parrot and in their spare time are competitive Hobie Cat sailboat racers, racing in local and national regattas. In addition, Fred volunteers as the Treasurer of the Hobie Class Association of North America.

  • photo of Chuck Moore's Pet'

    Chuck Moore

    Vice President, Business Development

    Chuck began his Animal Health career in January 1987, with concentrations in sales and sales management roles in both the manufacturer and distribution business channels. He spent the last 19 plus years at Patterson Animal Health and was involved in the development and implementation of key company initiatives and served in leadership roles, most recently as Central Region President – Companion Animal. In his career, Chuck had geographical responsibilities at a territory, district, region and national level working closely with internal and external partners to mutually grow the practice client-patient experience.

    He earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Mississippi State University in Agricultural Engineering Technology and Business. Chuck and his wife Norma live in Hoover, AL, and have one daughter, Meredith. The family enjoys traveling, outdoor activities, college sports, and their pet Sheltie, Ellie.

  • photo of Julie Stern's Pet'

    Julie Stern

    Director of Marketing

    Julie has spent the last 20 years in marketing leadership positions in the veterinary, real estate & business consulting industries. She is passionate about helping businesses build life-long relationships with clients, delivering exceptional experiences at every step in the process. For nine years, Julie helped grow a veterinary services provider into a national brand presence with prominent online visibility. Later, she developed formalized marketing & training programs, enabling over 700 veterinary support staff to deliver the highest standards of care to pets and their parents.

    Julie holds an MBA from Yale University’s School of Management, with a concentration in Marketing. She earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. In her spare time, Julie enjoys spending time with her husband, 5-year-old twins and their dog, Stormy. She is a competitive tennis player, voracious reader, and loves to travel.

  • photo of Laura Rust's Pet'

    Laura Rust

    Director of Recruiting

    Laura Rust believes that one of the most essential elements to any successful organization is its people. As the Director of Recruiting for the American Veterinary Group, she focuses on attracting the best veterinary talent to hospital teams. Prior to joining AVG, she spent over a decade working in people-centric roles in recruiting, event planning, and secondary education and has recruited general practice and emergency veterinarians for some of the largest veterinary acquisition companies in the country. Her accomplishments include spearheading a nationwide campus recruiting strategy to support over 500 hospitals and create a pipeline of top talent to the company.

    With her background in education, she enjoys partnering with the colleges of veterinary medicine to offer educational programs to students to guide them through the seemingly overwhelming job search process. She also enjoys the fulfillment that comes with hiring the perfect team member for practice and watching them flourish in their new role.

    Laura holds a Master’s degree in Spanish Language and Literature from Simmons University in Boston, MA as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish Literature from Saint Anselm College in Manchester, NH. In her spare time, Laura loves to spend time with her husband and their Labrador retrievers.

  • photo of Kevin Puma's Pet'

    Kevin Puma

    Director of Training & Talent

    Kevin has spent over 15 years in learning and development for several companies across a variety of industries. He has a passion for driving employee performance and cultivating organizational talent to develop future leaders. By leveraging adult learning principles and a comprehensive and interactive blended learning approach, he has demonstrated a proven record of elevating employee performance through engagement and application. Kevin’s main objective is to equip associates with the tools necessary to foster positive, memorable interactions for our clients that exceeds or is commensurate with their expectations.

    Kevin spends his free time with his wife and four children. He coaches two soccer teams and loves watching sports!

  • photo of Raul Cardona's Pet'

    Raul Cardona

    Regional Director of Operations

    Raul has worked in the veterinary healthcare industry for 9 years, serving as Practice Manager and Field Trainer for multiple locations. He has supported the opening of 25 locations throughout the Southeast and was Brand Ambassador for MARS in Puerto Rico. Previously, Raul gained experience in the hospitality industry, where he learned the importance of service and people. Understanding leadership dynamics, keeping a team engaged and motivated, integrating functional strategies to reach financial and operational objectives, and looking onward in growing the business are key factors on Raul’s daily agenda.

    Outside of work, if Raul is not talking about sports, he’s playing sports! His two kids and boxer, Papo, also keep him busy.

  • photo of Dana Joyce's Pet'

    Dana Joyce

    Regional Director of Operations

    Dana has worked in various roles in the veterinary healthcare field for over 30 years. Her passion for the veterinary healthcare field began when she started working during middle school as a kennel attendant in her local veterinary hospital. From there, her career included working in all facets of the veterinary clinic, including the opportunity to be a practice manager of multi-doctor veterinary clinics. In addition to her work directly in hospitals, Dana has served as a territory manager for both a national pharmaceutical manufacturer and a national pharmaceutical distributor. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Sociology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

    With her deep love of pets and commitment to the veterinary industry, Dana enjoys working closely with veterinary hospitals to empower their staff to provide top-quality veterinary care, exceptional customer service, and efficient operations. In her free time, Dana enjoys spending time with her husband, teenage daughter and son, and four dogs.

  • photo of Al Nunez's Pet'

    Al Nunez

    Regional Director of Operations

    Al has worked in the veterinary healthcare industry for over 20 years, working in all support roles inside a hospital. After working as a Practice Manager, Al has worked in multi-site operations for 12 years across 10 states. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science from the University of Florida and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix.

    In his spare time, Al loves to travel, read, spend time with family, and is an avid sports fan (football, basketball, baseball). He has a deep passion for animals, currently has three dogs, fish, and reptiles.

  • photo of Melanie Gierbolini's Pet'

    Melanie Gierbolini

    Regional Director of Operations

    My name is Melanie and I am a Regional Director of Operations. I have been with AVG for a year now. I started as a PM Pro and now I am the RD for the South Florida Regions. I have been in the veterinary field for over 12 years, where I started as a part-time receptionist and moved my way up the hospital ranks. I have worked as a Multi-Unit Practice Manager for the past several years and have trained and developed many Practice Managers in their role. I believe in building strong foundations of team engagement and team development. My favorite thing about my current role is the marriage of people and numbers. I love how consistent behaviors turn hospitals profitable. I firmly believe that if I take care of you, you will then take care of your team which will make the hospital more profitable. I am really big in communication (I am always available), loyalty, and “assuming positive intent” because as my previous mentor taught me, nobody woke up this morning and said, “Today, I’m going to suck!”. I am very intentional when it comes to hiring and developing PM’s as I am on a quest to continue to build my #DreamTeam.

    I hold a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Indiana University. As a Puerto Rico native, I enjoy any and all things Puerto Rican, including food and the occasional vacation back home. I’m an animal lover and currently have 2 dogs, a cat, and an African Congo Gray.

  • photo of Christina Ruffer's Pet'

    Christina Ruffer

    Director of Integrations

    Christina started working in the veterinary industry 17 years ago, and her passion for pets and people flourished the moment she walked in the door at her first veterinary job. She enjoyed the daily routine of working in the kennel, assisting clients and pets, working at the front desk, managing inventory, and managing staff at her local veterinary hospital. After learning multiple veterinary software systems, Christina started to consult and work with other veterinary hospitals to teach them how to properly set up and use their systems. Christina started with American Veterinary Group in May 2016 and has quickly developed bonds with each hospital, working hand in hand with each team. It is difficult to learn a new software system, but Christina makes sure each staff is confident in their training and their ability to provide excellent customer service in the process.

  • photo of Stacey Knight's Pet'

    Stacey Knight

    Director of Integrations

    Stacey brings over 20 years of operations leadership and management experience to the American Veterinary Group team, with 15 of those years in veterinary medicine. She started in the kennel and quickly realized she wanted to make this industry her life’s work. She has served in all positions of the veterinary hospital, working with exotics, zoo animals and farm animals, as well as cats and dogs. As she progressed in her career into regional operations management positions, Stacey realized she loves the animals (of course!), but her true passion lies in developing people and helping them achieve their goals.

    Mom to two grown children and grandma to 5 pups, Stacey and her husband live in Dallas, Georgia. They have recently completed the renovation of a 200+ year-old farmhouse, performing 95% of the work themselves. They serve at the pleasure of 2 amazing dogs, 2 entitled cats, 4 aquatic turtles, 8 chickens, and approximately 750,000 honeybees.

  • photo of Jon-Paul Carew, DVM's Pet'

    Jon-Paul Carew, DVM

    Regional Medical Director

    Dr. Jon-Paul Carew gained his Bachelor of Science Degree in Marine Biology in 1997 at FAU, before graduating from Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine in 2001.

    Dr. Carew completed his clinical year at The University of Georgia. He has been practicing veterinary medicine in Florida since October 2001. He enjoys all aspects of veterinary medicine including surgery and exotic medicine. He has a special interest in pain management and anesthesia. 

    In his free time, Dr. Carew enjoys exploring north Florida’s springs and hiking with his two terriers, Finn and Calypso.

  • photo of Stephanie Smith, DVM's Pet'

    Stephanie Smith, DVM

    Regional Medical Director

    Dr. Stephanie Smith is a small animal veterinarian that strives to provide a stress-free visit to the patient and a positive experience to the client. She graduated in 2003 from the University of Florida and has practiced both emergency medicine and preventive health during her career. While her focus is cats and dogs, she will help any species in need, and has even performed surgery underwater on a goldfish.

    Dr. Smith has an interest in behavioral medicine and is a Certified Fear Free veterinarian. This additional training helps her make the veterinary visit less stressful for both the patient and the owner. Her interest in behavior started at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Elephants, mandrills, rhinos, and flamingos were the species studied during her projects. The first flamingo born at Animal Kingdom was named Stephanie in her honor.

    Outside of veterinary medicine, she enjoys travel adventures with her son. The next international trip will be to Australia. In the meantime, you can find them camping at a National Park. Live music is also a hobby and she has been known to travel across the country for a concert. She has a soft spot for opossums and can often be found bottle feeding one in the spring. Her other travel companion and hiking buddy is her black and white dog named Orca.

  • photo of Mark Lee, DVM's Pet'

    Mark Lee, DVM

    Regional Medical Director

    Dr. Mark Lee graduated from Mississippi State College of Veterinary Medicine and moved to the great state of North Carolina in June 2016. Dr. Lee loves being a general practitioner because he is able to do a little bit of everything; however, he does have special interests in surgery, dermatology, and internal medicine.

    Dr. Lee enjoys spending time with his wife, Amanda, two crazy dogs, Ace and Otter & soon-to-be two children. In his spare time, Dr. Lee enjoys bass fishing, playing sports, and having fun with family and friends.

  • photo of Steven Mitchell's Pet'

    Steven Mitchell

    Regional Practice Manager

    Steven started his career in the veterinary healthcare industry in 2003. As a strong leader with a passion for people, Steven is a firm believer in empowering others to empower themselves. Prior to joining the team at American Veterinary Group Steven served as both a practice manager & ambassador for some of the largest veterinary healthcare companies in the country. With a deep commitment to developing talent in the veterinary community Steven has also dedicated his time to serving on an internship committee as well as a peer development initiative.

    On his downtime, Steven enjoys hiking, photography & exploring new cuisines.

  • photo of Sarah Lowe's Pet'

    Sarah Lowe

    Regional Practice Manager

    Sarah is a Registered Veterinary Technician with a passion for developing people that runs as deeply as her passion for helping pets. She began her career in the veterinary field a decade ago with the largest privately-owned veterinary company in the United States. Since then, she has combined her expertise in veterinary healthcare with her commitment to servant leadership to develop several other managers and leaders within the industry. Although Sarah is a career-driven woman, when she is not working, she can be found at home in Indiana taking care of her two-year-old son and four step-daughters and spending time with her fiancé, Josh. She breeds Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and has many other pets of all species!

Our Locations

American Veterinary Group is based in the South and partners with relationship-focused hospitals throughout the region. We are geographically close to our network of hospitals so we can always be available when they need us.

Showing all 40 locations
Academy Animal Hospital
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Laurinburg, NC
All Pets Hospital
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New Port Richey, FL
Animal Medical Clinic at St. Johns
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Saint Johns, FL
Asheboro Animal Hospital
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Asheboro, NC
Atlas Pet Clinic
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Clermont, FL
Bee Ridge Animal Hospital
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Sarasota, FL
Benning Animal Hospital
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Columbus, GA
Care Animal Hospital
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Brandon, FL
CountryChase Veterinary Hospital
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Tampa, FL
Dadeland Animal Hospital
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Miami, FL
Dogwood Veterinary Hospital and Pet Resort
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Chapel Hill, NC
Durant Animal Hospital
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Durant, OK
English Plaza Animal Hospital
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Homestead, FL
Haile Plantation Animal Clinic
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Gainesville, FL
Heart of Florida Animal Hospital & Pet Resort
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Haines City, FL
Kimbrough Animal Hospital
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Longview, TX
Lakeside Animal Hospital
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Odessa, FL
Lincolnton Animal Hospital
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Lincolnton, NC
Lindsey and Wills Animal Hospital
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Douglas, GA
Lineberger Veterinary Hospital
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Gastonia, NC
Magnolia Animal Hospital
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Ocala, FL
North Port St. Lucie Animal Hospital
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Port St. Lucie, FL
Panhandle Veterinary Services
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Chipley, FL
Parkway Animal Hospital
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Panama City, FL
Riverside Animal Hospital
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Coral Springs, FL
Satilla Animal Hospital
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Waycross, GA
Scotts Creek Animal Hospital
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Statesville, NC
Shepherd Springs Animal Hospital
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Crawfordville, FL
South Point Pet Hospital
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Belmont, NC
Southgate Animal Hospital
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Sarasota, FL
Southside Animal Clinic
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Jacksonville, FL
Spring Hill Animal Clinic
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Spring Hill, FL
Town & Country Veterinarians and Pet Resort
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Gainesville, FL
Upper Keys Veterinary Hospital
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Islamorada, FL
UrgentVet Pet Clinic – Belmont
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Belmont, NC
UrgentVet Pet Clinic – Brandon
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Valrico, FL
UrgentVet Pet Clinic – Fort Mill
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Fort Mill, SC
UrgentVet Pet Clinic – New Port Richey
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Odessa, FL
UrgentVet Pet Clinic – Westchase
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Tampa, FL
West Boca Veterinary Center
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Boca Raton, FL