Our Team

Doctor Mark Ayers and his wife smiling

Dr. Mark A. Ayers

Dr. Mark A. Ayers is the owner and founder of Ayers Animal Hospital, Inc. Dr. Ayers graduated from West Virginia University with high honors and with a BS degree in animal science. He is a 1979 graduate of Auburn University School of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Ayers founded Ayers Animal Hospital, Inc., after purchasing the practice of Dr. Harry ‘Bert’ Willet in 1983. Dr. Ayers decided at the young age of 6 that he wanted to become a veterinarian. His family was always surrounded by animals of all types. His family owned everything from milk cows, pigs and chickens to work horses, which his family used to plow the family gardens. Dr. Ayers always had a dog or two that he hiked with and were his pals following him on his bicycle or as he rode his horse through the back roads near his home.

Dr. Ayers has always had a keen interest in both human and animal medicine, and from a young age he loved the sciences. One of his most treasured Christmas presents was a microscope for which his mom and dad sacrificed to purchase for him. Because of his love of people, animals and science, he has devoted his entire academic career and life to veterinary medicine. Even now after 34 years of private practice, Dr. Ayers still loves his profession as much as ever. He strives to stay abreast with the latest developments in his field. He has maintained a keen interest in dermatology, internal medicine, cardiology, ultrasonography, surgery and radiology.

What began as a solo practice has grown over the past years to a busy four-person practice. Dr. Ayers recently created a new addition to the current hospital providing more parking, more exam rooms and a much larger reception area. Dr. Ayers has been married to his wife Judy, for 34 years and has three children; Diana, Jeremy and Charity. Dr. Ayers and Judy currently share their home with their dog, Teddy Bear and provide doggie daycare for Charity’s dog, Bentley. They sadly miss their cat Cuddles, which shared their home for 15 years and Simba their Golden Retrevier of 13 years.

Dr. Ayers is also an ordained minister and is the pastor of the New Hope Worship Center, Nitro,West Virginia.

Dr. Candie Baker with her dog

Dr. Candie M. Baker

Dr. Candie M. Baker joined the team at Ayers Animal Hospital in January of 2009. Dr. Baker went to Morehead State University for Pre-Vet and is a 1993 graduate of Auburn University School of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Baker’s dream growing up on a 200 acre farm in Olive Hill, Kentucky, was to be a veterinarian. Having grown up on the farm, she was always involved with animals including; cows, chickens, riding and working with horses, barn cats, and several beloved canine companions. She first learned to ride a horse by riding on the back of a plow horse while her dad plowed the farm crops. Dr. Baker always had at least one horse growing up and loved riding and training them. Her love for horses still continues today.

Dr. Baker has been practicing for 23 years and has experience in large animals, emergency medicine, surgery, and preventative care for companion animals and exotics. She, like Dr. Mark Ayers, strives to stay current on all the latest developments in the field. Dr. Baker has a real passion for companion animal orthopedic surgery, soft tissue surgery, internal medicine, radiology, and preventive care. She also recently added endoscopy to her list of skills.

Dr. Baker is an active member of The First Christian Church in her hometown of Olive Hill, Kentucky, where she lives on a small farm and takes care of her dad. She has one dog, a 10 year old hound mix, ‘Belle’, one inside cat, “Binky’ and 4 outside farm cats.

Dr. Amber Lilly

Dr. Amber B. Lilly

Dr. Amber Lilly has worked at the practice since 2011. She was born and raised in Huntington, West Viginia. She graduated summa cum laude from Marshall University with a BS degree in Biology in 2006. She received her doctorate from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine in 2010 and then moved back to the tri-state area to be near family.

Dr. Lilly knew she wanted to become a veterinarian at age 4. She has a love for science and medicine and was always drawn to animals and the bonds they share with humans. Her favorite thing about working with animals is helping a sick patient get home to their loving family.

Dr. Lilly knows she was meant for this profession and is blessed to truly enjoy going to work. She cares about her patients and is driven to learn new techniques that provide the highest quality of medicine available.

Dr. Lilly has a special interest in internal medicine, ophthalmology, ultrasonography, cardiology, dermatology, and preventative medicine.

Dr. Julie Tackett

Dr. Julie Tackett joined the Ayers Animal Hospital team in August of 2018!

Dr. Tackett is a 2002 graduate of Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine (Dr. Ayers alma mater!). Dr. Tackett has a history of working in a mixed animal practice and small animal practice, and she particularly enjoys preventative care medicine, wound healing and geriatrics.

Dr. Tackett’s interests, aside from caring for your pets, include hiking, bike/trail riding, and refinishing/re-purposing furniture. She has one daughter, Harlee. Dr. Tackett and her husband, Travis, live on a hobby farm and are active members of their local church. Dr. Tackett is also a beauty consultant for Mary Kay!

Team member Elaine with her dog on a hike


Office Manager

Elaine is the office manager at Ayers Animal Hospital and has been part of the team since 2000 and been in the veterinary field since 1988. Elaine is responsible for daily electronic communication with clients, reporting controlled substances, maintaining logs, maintaining and upgrading the veterinary software management, ordering and tracking inventory, maintaining OSHA requirements, maintaining AAHA (American Animal Hospital Association) requirements and keeping standards met for veterinary state inspections.

Elaine grew up on an 86 acre tobacco, hay, and beef farm in northern Kentucky and animals have always been her passion. As a small child, her love for animals was automatic. She was never scared of animals and in fact would play in the fields with the cows, hang onto the tails of the bulls, and walk up the hills with them. She loved raising beef cattle, hogs, sheep, horses, and her specialty passion was beekeeping. Elaine’s passion for beekeeping lead her to teach children and adults the importance of beekeeping and why they are so important in the production of our food sources.

Elaine’s 4-legged family includes 2 dogs, Augustus and Shilo. She enjoys doing charitable work and stays active in the community where ever needed. She also enjoys spending quality time with her 9 nieces and nephews who are her a big part of her life and watching them follow in her footsteps raising and showing livestock.

Registered Veterinary Technician

Erin has been a registered veterinary technician with Ayers Animal Hospital since 2015. She graduated from Bridge Valley Community and Technical College In 2015. she did an internship at AAH during that program. She was so impressed with the level of medicine practiced here that she knew she wanted to be a part of this team.

She knew she wanted to work with animals, but wasn’t sure how exactly she would do that. She took a summer job at another veterinary clinic and fell in love with veterinary medicine. Her favorite thing about working with animals is being able to be their voice. Human-pet bonds are so important, and helping people be able to better understand their furry friends is wonderful.

The first time she was able to tend to a very sick animal, help it feel better, and send it back home happy and healthy she knew this was the place for me.

In her house there are four dogs, Sox cats, two snakes, and two humans. she like to spend any free time she have catching up on funny TV shows and playing video games.

Team member Molly

Surgical Technician

Molly is a  Marshall University graduate with a B.S. in Biological Science.  She has been with  the  Ayers Animal Hospital medical team for 9 years while pursuing her education, and plans to stay on board until her acceptance into a veterinary medicine program.  Molly started out as a kennel technician and quickly got promoted to surgical technician where she provides anesthesia monitoring, critical care, surgical assisting and diagnostic testing, in addition to her many other duties.   She also has ample experience with a variety of pets, as her four-legged family consists of 2 dogs (Brody and Roscoe), 6 cats (Mama, Mia, Millie, Maggie, Bartholomew, and Smoky), 1 rabbit (Funny), 1 leopard gecko (Bronte), a tortoise (Theresa), and African grey parrot (Caesar), and an emerald swift (Crowley).   In her free time, she enjoys reading, art, video games, and watching geeky TV shows with her dogs.

Veterinary Technician

Chico has been with Ayers Animal Hospital since 2015. She graduated with a degree in Japanese. Chico loves animals and wants to do everything she can to make them feel better. She loves being able to work at a place where she can work with animals all day.

Outside of work, Chico is an avid reader and tea drinker.

Kim Wilks
Veterinary Technician

Kim has been with Ayers Animal Hospital as a veterinary technician since December of 2017.

As a youngster, she grew up in Lawrence county, Ohio and Lawrence county, Kentucky, but no matter where she was she enjoyed her time with dogs.

She’s been married for 20 years to her husband David with whom they have a combined 5 children, Mike, Josh, Alisha,  Sierra and Andrew, 3 Outlaws Kayla, Sam and Kaytlyn, and 5 grandbabies Ryland, Aiden, Ava, Logan and Nolan. Kim boards and trains dogs as a side hustle.

Team member Samantha with a happy dog

Kennel Technician

Samantha joined the Ayers Animal Hospital team in October of 2012. She began working as a kennel technician and is currently training to be a veterinary technician. Samantha has a dog named Puppy. She also has 2 wonderful children.

Team member Kaitlyn

Kennel Technician

Kaitlyn joined the Ayers Animal Hospital team in February of 2014. Kaitlyn is one of our kennel technicians. She has a huge passion and love for animals and it shows through her daily work here at Ayers Animal Hospital. She owns rescue dogs and a horse named Scooby. Kaitlyn’s future goal is to become a Registered Veterinary Technician. In her spare time Kaitlyn loves horse back riding and reading.

Team member Amber with her dog dressed for her birthday

Kennel Technician

Amber enjoys caring and working with all the patients here in the hospital. She enjoys meeting new patients that come in every day. She takes great care of the boarding pets and builds a personal attachment with them. Amber has 3 pets; a German Shepherd named Koda a beagle mix named Harley, and a Siamese cat named Whisker Britches. Animals are Amber’s passion and plan to continue working with them for the rest of her life.

Kennel Attendant

Sarah has been a kennel attendant at Ayers Animal Hospital since 2017. She received her kennel license Collins Career Center. She knew that she was in the right industry when she was able to begin learning what she was passionate about.

She loves her family! There is her Mom, Dad, Husband, Mother-in-law, sister-in-law, 2 nephews and a niece. She loves spending her time with all of them when she’s not working.

Team member Leticia holding a brown dachshund wearing a hat


Leticia was born and raised in Tlaxcala, Mexico. Animals have always been her passion. She always loved animals from an early age. She graduated from Universidad Autonoma De Tlaxcala in Mexico with a doctorate in veterinary medicine in 1992. Soon after graduation, I was offered a job with the Mexican government Agricultural department that provided support to livestock farmers and various farming projects which included artificial insemination in pigs and small scale beekeeping projects. She also worked at various small private animal veterinary clinics doing preventative care and grooming. She also taught biology, ecology, computer software programming and art at high school and middle school level.

She joined Ayers Animal Hospital as a kennel technician in 2017 and presently assistant groomer.

She is working on eventually getting USA certification as a veterinarian or veterinary technician. She has completed many animal care courses since relocating to the USA four years to keep current.

She is multilingual and presently working on my ASL certification.

She am married to my best friend and husband Anthon and currently share their home with Steward, a dachshund adoptee from Ayers Animal Hospital.

She enjoys canvas painting, traveling, gardening, rock music, hiking, Zumba, raising rare breed chickens and learning the guitar.

Working at Ayers Animal Hospital is truly a wonderful experience and great people to work with. Lots of opportunities for professional growth and the pleasure to provide loving care to our four-legged friends of all shapes and sizes.