Who We Are

Our Mission Statement

Veterinary Emergency Center strives to operate a superior and ever-advancing emergency veterinary hospital at which patient health and well-being are of paramount importance, with the satisfaction of our pet owners and referring veterinarians, and the fulfillment of our employees, following as a natural extension of our primary goal.

Our Staff

Veterinary Emergency Center is staffed by skilled veterinary professionals dedicated to the complete, compassionate care of injured or ill animals.

 

LEADERSHIP


Dr. Steven Leshem DVM, ACVS

Owner

Dr. Leshem received his Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from UMass Amherst in 1996 and a Veterinary degree from Tufts University in 2000.

Dr. Leshem completed a rotating internship in medicine and surgery at Veterinary Specialists of Connecticut in 2000. He then spent a number of years as a general practice veterinarian in Colorado. Dr. Leshem then moved to Reno to complete a surgical internship at Veterinary Specialists of Nevada. While in Nevada, Steve also taught Anatomy and Physiology at Truckee Meadows Community College. He went on to complete a highly competitive residency and adjunct professorship in small animal surgery at Iowa State University. Steve is among a few select veterinarians who are board certified in small animal veterinary surgery.

Returning to Connecticut in 2008, Dr. Leshem became a leader in small animal surgery at a large specialty hospital. In 2017, Dr. Leshem operated as a mobile surgeon in the Great Hartford area. He also lectured at Northwest Community College.

Dr. Leshem is an active member in good standing of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Connecticut Veterinary Medical Association, the Hartford County Veterinary Medical Association, the American College of Veterinary Medicine and the Society of Soft Tissue Veterinary Surgery. He was the chairperson of the Hartford County Veterinary Association for 5 years.

Dr. Leshem has a wonderful wife, five daughters and a number of pets! When he is not working to help people and their pets, Steve enjoys sports and the outdoors.

 

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Jamie Beyer

Hospital Manager

Jamie has been in the veterinary field since 2004 and joined the Veterinary Emergency Center team in 2016. She was previously in the finance and lending fields but left after volunteering at a local animal shelter to pursue her childhood dream of being in the veterinary world. She has an amazing daughter who is the joy of her life and two rescue pets: a spirited feline named Luke and her loyal four-legged best friend, a large and goofy German Shepherd mix named Bo. She enjoys riding on her Harley when the weather permits, long walks in the woods with Bo and projects around the house.

 

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Leslie Rivera

Veterinary Nurse
Manager: Nursing and ICU Services

Leslie started working as a veterinary nurse in 2006 at a general practice hospital in Puerto Rico. She moved to CT in 2013 with her husband and their two little boys. Shortly after they introduced Rocco (a male Ragdoll) and Taylor (a female Great Dane) to their family. She started working at the Veterinary Emergency Center on February of 2014 as a veterinary nurse. She has always enjoyed working with small animals. She loves to care for critical patients and their families when they needed. In her spare time she enjoys going out with her family. Her hobbies include boating, fishing, water sports, and gardening. When she is not in town she is in PR visiting her family.

 

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Dr. Pamela Shapiro

ER Director

Dr. Pamela Shapiro is originally from Massachusetts and received her Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Science at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 2007. She worked as a veterinary technician for 2 years in Connecticut before starting Veterinary School. She attended Iowa State University and completed her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine in 2013. After graduation, she practiced general medicine and surgery at a private small animal hospital in Connecticut. Dr. Shapiro joined the Veterinary Emergency Center in September of 2016 she loves being a part of and helping to lead the wonderful team at this hospital. She particularly enjoys surgery and is passionate about supporting our clients and patients through some of their hardest days. When she is not practicing medicine she is spending time with her husband, their two young children, and pets. She also loves to bake, read and sing.

 

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Dr. Suzanne Gerber

Dr. Suzanne Gerber was born in Pennsylvania and completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Bioscience at Pennsylvania State University. She went on to Cornell University, where she received her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine in 2000. She had been a general practitioner in small animal medicine and surgery since graduation until she joined the Veterinary Emergency Center in September of 2014. She has been enjoying practicing emergency medicine immensely and is thrilled to be part of such a knowledgeable and compassionate veterinary team. When she is not busy practicing veterinary medicine, she loves the time that she spends with her husband, two sons, and pets. She also likes singing (with both a choral group and in a band) and is an avid college sports fan.

 


April Walker

Veterinary Nurse and Shift Leader

In 2004, April received her Associate’s Degree from Ocean County College, where she studied print broadcast and journalism. She has always had a passion for animals, and in 2006, she began her journey in veterinary medicine by joining Berkeley Veterinary Center in New Jersey as a Veterinary Assistant. She then moved to Connecticut in 2013 and continued in the veterinary field by working as a Veterinary Nurse at Animal Medical Clinic. April joined the Veterinary Emergency Center family in October 2015, and is really enjoying emergency medicine because you never know what kind of cases will come through the door. She shares her life with her significant other JR. Together their family consists of their cat Hayzael, two French bulldogs named Evolet and Ilona, and a variety of lizards and fish. April doesn’t like to play favorites with her reptiles, but her Blue Tongue Skink named Perdue will always be very special to her. Forever in her heart is Lycan her American Bully who passed away May 2019. He was one of a kind and will never be forgotten. April is very passionate when it comes to reptiles and dogs. She enjoys educating, fostering, and adopting. She also enjoys dog sports consisting of agility, weight pull, obedience, rally and tricks. In fact, Lycan took first place in his weight pull competitions prior to passing away. She is also a huge Godzilla fan and collects everything from old-school monster movies to Godzilla memorabilia. In her free time you can usually find her at comic conventions, at a dog show, renaissance fairs, the movies, gaming with her boyfriend, or down in New Jersey spending time with family and friends.

 

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Scarlett Szaley

Veterinary Nurse and Shift Leader

Scarlett graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2008 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. From 2011 to 2013, she attended Northwestern Connecticut Community College, and graduated with a degree in Veterinary Technology. During her time at NWCCC, she interned here at VEC, as well as volunteered and worked in another local veterinary hospital. Upon graduation, she lived abroad in England, and since returning in the fall of 2015, she happily joined the team here. Scarlett currently resides in Connecticut with her English kitty Colin, whom she loves very much, despite his lack of expected politeness!

 


Holly Bugbee-McCue

CVT – Veterinary Nurse, Shift Leader

Holly has been a veterinary nurse for over 12 years. It has been quite a journey! She loves emergency medicine and has worked in many emergency facilities including ICU at the University of Florida where she learned most of her higher clinical skills. She is mom to three amazing kids and lives in a crazy home with cats, a dog, parrots, fish, chickens and a bearded dragon!

 


Andrea Sinclair

Veterinary Nurse

Andrea began in the veterinary field in 2008 after studying physiology & neurobiology at UConn. Andrea joined the VEC team in 2017 after working in both general practice and emergency veterinary hospitals in Connecticut & California. Andrea takes great pride in patient care as well as human care as she enjoys getting to talk to other animal lovers at VEC. Andrea lives in the Canton/Avon community with her two huskies who love to run with her. Andrea is also passionate about live music, patient advocacy, and deadlifting. Pictured with Andrea is her giant, super-senior, super special and beloved white German Shepherd Jack that passed in October of 2019.

 


Rebecca Silver

Veterinary Nurse

Becky joined the staff at Veterinary Emergency Center in February of 2017. Becky has always had a passion for animals, starting off at the young age of 13 as an assistant to an equine veterinarian. She began working in this field as part of a work study program at Quinnipiac University where she was a Veterinary Technician major. Her first job outside of school was as a veterinary receptionist for 5 years before training on the job as a vet tech. After that, she worked in general practice as a veterinary technician for two more years before coming to VEC. At VEC, Becky holds the position of veterinary nurse and laboratory supervisor. She enjoys the rush of working in critical and emergent care, where you never know what’s going to happen one day to the next! Becky resides in Harwinton with her husband, two daughters, and newborn son!

 


Pamela Andross

CVT

Pam has been with VEC since opening in 2012. Her career in veterinary medicine began in 1979, became a certified vet tech in 1992, recognized as a who’s who for VPM in 2006 became certified in veterinary practice management in 2008. Her career has been mostly in specialty practices, the last 18 in Emergency medicine. Throughout her career she has volunteered with several shelters as a result of that she has hand raised and helped find ‘furever’ homes for several hundred orphaned kittens.

Pam and her husband Brian enjoy traveling, cooking and entertaining. They have 2 dogs, CC and August. Her hobbies include pottery, macramé and music.

 


Gigi Locicero

Veterinary Nurse

Gigi’s passion for veterinary medicine started when she was in her junior year of high school. She came to VEC as an intern in 2014 to learn more about the veterinary field. She graduated from UCONN in May 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in Animal Science/Pathobiology and hopes to attend veterinary school in the near future. Gigi likes to share her time with her furry family- dogs, cats and birds as well as her human family. She also has a passion for all things Disney!

 


Shelby Gerrol

Receptionist

Shelby has always had an interest in the animal kingdom. Being fortunate enough to grow up in a household with every pet imaginable, this interest flourished and has persisted to this day. After graduating from Westfield State University with a B.S. in Biology, she’s continued her education at various sanctuaries across the United States and abroad. Having worked with everything from beluga whales to elephants, Shelby has had some exciting experiences. After moving back to Connecticut, she joined the VEC team in May 2017. Shelby lives with her dog Turkish, and her cat Dosi-doe. In her free time, she enjoys hiking with friends, paddle boarding, watching movies, and cuddling on the couch with her pets.


Beatrice Brainard

Veterinary Nurse

Bea has been an advocate for animals of all shapes and sizes for as long as she can remember. She started her career as a veterinary nurse in 2005. Since that time, she has found that veterinary emergency medicine is something that she is very passionate about! In her time off, Bea enjoys riding her horses and gardening.

 


Cassandra Fearon

CVT

Cassie graduated Northwestern Community College May 2019 with an Associates degree in Veterinary Technology and passed her VTNE in June 2019 after completing her externship at VEC! She lives in Harwinton with her 2 children, her cat and 3 Saint Bernards!

 


Dr. Colleen Kellogg

Dr. Kellogg is a graduate of Glasgow University School of Veterinary Medicine. Prior to obtaining her veterinary degree she received a BS in animal science from the University of Connecticut. After graduating from the University of Glasgow, she completed a rotating medicine and surgical internship at Veterinary Specialists of Connecticut. She has since worked as a general practitioner and decided to make the transition to emergency medicine when she joined the team at Veterinary Emergency Center in 2019.

In her spare time, Dr. Kellogg loves spending time with her family including her furry children, Hamish and LJ (Little Jimmy. ) From a young age she has enjoyed the outdoors and particularly loves to trail run with her dogs.

Desiree Kozikowski

Desiree Kozikowski

Desiree has always been passionate about animals, starting with her love of horses as a child. Growing up riding, assisting veterinarians with barn animal yearly check ups, to volunteering at equine rescues and therapeutic riding centers. She started in the veterinary field in 2012, studying at Tunxis and Penn Foster College. Has enjoyed all aspects from technician, surgical assistant to reception and triage and a special interest in ophthalmology. Joining the VEC team in June of 2018. She shares her home in Avon with her rescue dog Astrid and two mischievous cats, Beans and Alice.