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liz_dagnall.jpgDr. Liz Dagnall is a co-owner of the Animal Center Veterinary Hospital. Prior to purchasing the practice, she worked here part-time starting in 2003.

A California native, she received a Master's degree in Public Health in 1986 and her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine degree in 1990 from the University of California. She has extensive experience as an emergency veterinarian.

She and husband Rob Dagnall live on a ranch at Canyon Creek with “numerous” dogs and horses. They breed border collies, and she is particularly involved with training and showing Arabian horses.

staff_ed.jpgDr. Ed Newman, DVM is the other co-owner of the Animal Center. A Montana native, he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in microbiology in 1977, then a Master of Science in microbiology in 1981. He married his college sweetheart Kimberly, in 1981, and worked for two years at the Montana State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.

He then attended Colorado State Veterinary School and graduated with a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine in 1987. After spending a few years practicing in California, he returned to Montana and has been at the Animal Center since 1992. Ed and Kimberly raised two sons, Kyle and Jared.

As a practicing veterinarian, Ed has an interest in medicine and surgery (soft tissue and orthopedic) in dogs, cats and all other small or exotic companion animals.

When not working, Ed and his family enjoy the usual outdoor activities offered by Helena and the surrounding area—hiking, camping, fishing, hunting, skiing, etc.

JK.JPGDr. Julie Kappes has served the animals of Helena since she graduated veterinary school; most of those years she has been practicing at the Animal Center.

She earned a bachelor's degree at Colorado State University and her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine, also at CSU, in 1983. She is especially interested in orthopedic and soft tissue surgery.

She is also very active in the community, having served on the Board of Directors of the Lewis & Clark Humane Society from 1985 to 1992, and is a leading force in Spay Montana for the past 17 years, volunteering her time to spay and neuter hundreds of animals throughout the state. Dr. Kappes and her husband Kelly Kuntz are very committed to the animals of the Blackfeet Reservation, sterilizing pets and providing doghouses and food for animals in need.

Though no longer practicing at our facility, Julie is off to new adventures in Bozeman, MT. We wish her the best and hope one day to see her back at the Animal Center!

jillian_dougherty.jpgDr. Jillian Dougherty earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in Animal Science from Texas A&M and her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Mississippi State University. She has been practicing both small and large animal medicine in Helena since 2009.

In addition to her work at the Animal Center, she is co-owner and partner of Capital Large Animal. Since May 2014, Dr. Dougherty has been a board member of the Lewis and Clark Humane Society.

Dr. Mandy McGowan is a Helena native who graduated from both Capital High School and Carroll College. Since completing the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program at Colorado State University in 2007, Dr. McGowan has been practicing in the Helena area.

Outside of the clinic, Dr. McGowan enjoys many outdoor activities provided by life in Montana including rafting, running, horseback riding, and swimming.

Dr. Haven Leavitt was born and raised in Fairbanks, Alaska. After spending her youth mushing dogs and riding horses, she headed south to Montana to complete a BA in German with a minor in French at the University of Montana, and then her pre-veterinary requirements at Montana State University. She earned her Doctor of Medicine degree at Colorado State University, and was happy to return to Montana following graduation in May 2017.

She spends her days off exploring Montana with her husband, daughter, and dog, Cao Belle. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, knitting, cross-country skiing, watercolor painting, and ceramics.

karen_elliot.jpgKaren is the Practice Manager. She has been with the Animal Center since April 2006 and has worked for the clinic in many capacities.

Karen volunteers with Spay Montana and occasionally travels on the weekends as a surgical technician.

When Karen is not at work or travelling, she enjoys spending time with her Giant Schnauzer Kristof, and her cat Coco.

Christina is Dr. Jillian Dougherty's technician. She started working at the Animal Center in April 2009. She moved to Helena in 2004 to attend Carroll College. She and her boyfriend are building their four-legged family which currently consists of three cats: Max, Penny, and Shiva.

Amy is Dr. Liz Dagnall's technician. Amy has worked as a veterinary technician across the country for nearly three decades and she still loves every day of it. She currently lives with two cats, Jack and Ronda, and a spoiled rotten umbrella cockatoo named Ullr. Amy has been in Montana for two years now and believes she has finally found a home with us here at the Animal Center.

Keli has worked with us as Dr. Julie Kappes' technician since 2001. She enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters and engages in many outdoor activities. 

Christine has worked as a part-time vet tech at the Animal Center for more than 15 years. She completed veterinarian assistant school and went to Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina to work with abandoned animals.

Mandi cheerfully joined the Animal Center team early in May of 2014. She is Dr. Ed Newman's technician. Mandi started her career with animals working at a humane society, and has now been a technician for 10 years. She loves camping in the summer and enjoys snowstorms when she can cuddle her animals at home.

Sadie also joined the crew at the Animal Center in Early May of 2014. She is a Carroll College Biology grad, who is currently working as Dr. Mandy McGowan's technician to keep up her skills before she departs to pursue a career in wildlife rehabilitation. She volunteers her free time at the Montana Wildlife Center. When she is home she is catering to her adorable English Bulldog, Xena.

Draven has been with us since 2014. She has had a passion for animals ever since she could walk and it shows! Draven has a veritable menagerie at home consisting of four dogs: Maizy (pictured with Draven), Bella, Bommer, and Rufus, her cat Rudy, a ferret named Boxer, two turtles, several chickens, ducks, and Alberta the goose. Draven is currently on the educational path to becoming a veterinarian. A student of Helena College, she one day hopes to own her own practice working with both domesticated animals and wildlife. 

becky2.JPGDon came to the clinic in July 2016. A native New Englander, he earned his Bachelor's degree from University of Massachusetts with a summer honors study at Oxford University in England. Having amassed over 30 years of customer service in resort hospitality and telecommunications, Don enjoys working with our professional staff and knows that every day he is doing something meaningful. Don has interests in outdoor photography, travel, and fly-fishing (tying about 2000 flies per year). Currently "between dogs", Don is a lifelong animal lover.

Chrisanne.JPGChrisanne is a transplant from Oregon to the wide open skies of Montana. She has worked at the Animal Center since April 2010 and is certified by Hills/Science Diet as a Veterinary Nutritional Advocate. She loves the challenges of the veterinary industry and helps us with all of our day-to-day hospital requirements.

She has four active, grown children. She lives with a boxer, seven cats, two turtles, multiple fish, and one veiled chameleon.

maria.JPGMaria is a third generation Montanan, born and raised in Kalispell. She is a U of M alumni who has worked part time at the Animal Center for more than 6 years. She has two cats, Rascal and Houdini.


Kenzie became a part of our crew in August 2015. She is a versatile team member who works as both a receptionist and a technician. In what little free time she has, Kenzie enjoys training horses and competing in barrel racing. She has two energetic dogs at home; MooShoo, a Siberian Husky, and Heinz, a German Shepherd. 

Kayla has worked in the animal industry for approximately 10 years, mainly at a local boarding facility. She started at the Animal Center in September 2016.

Kayla earned her associates degree in Animal Technology from Bel-Rea Institute in Denver, Colorado in 2014. She then went on to earn her vet tech certification later that year. 

A Helena native, Kayla enjoys all Montana outdoor activities including hiking, camping, and fishing with her two dogs, Betsy and Pistol.