Meet Our Staff

Vista Falls is no ordinary Veterinary Hospital

Our extra special group of caring professionals are what sets us apart!

Having a modern facility with state of the art equipment is a huge plus for any Veterinary Hospital competing in today’s marketplace, but it’s not the primary characteristic that sets them apart from their competitors. The single most distinguishing feature that separates the ordinary from the extraordinary Veterinary Hospital is the people who treat and care for the patients.

The staff members of Vista Falls Veterinary Hospital are a special group of people that truly care about your pet. Perhaps more importantly, they have the training, skills and experience that are required to provide your pet with the correct diagnosis and treatment in order to restore their health and give you peace of mind.

Dr. Tim Emery, DVM

Head of Medical Staff

Dr. Leslie Leidecker, DVM

Associate Veterinarian 

Dr. CJ Dabiero, DVM

Associate Veterinarian

Augi Payne, RVT

Registered Veterinary Technician

Sarah Stertzbach, RVT

Registered Veterinary Technician

Cassidy Chapman, MS, BS

Veterinary Technician

Rhoda Deason

Veterinary Assistant

Morgan Griswold

Veterinary Assistant

Dr. Tim Emery, DVM - Veterinarian

I received my BS degree from Tulsa University and then my DVM degree from Oklahoma State in 1989. Upon graduation, I joined a partnership in Tulsa, Oklahoma where I began a satellite practice, Woodland Animal Hospital South.  After several years, I sold my partnership and moved to Gastonia, NC to perform surgery for four hospitals with Veterinary Healthcare Associates.  I then moved to the mountains of Western North Carolina and after two years opened Etowah Valley Veterinary Hospital.  My family and I were led to sell this practice in 2005 to enter the mission field where we lived and served as missionaries in Debre’ Zeit, Ethiopia for two years. This was followed by time in Milot, Haiti, Zambia and Uganda. We most recently completed a three year mission stent in Mafikeng, South Africa with Christian Veterinary Mission, teaching degree and diploma students in Animal Health Studies and sharing the Gospel through a new church plant in the local village of Lokaleng.  We moved back to the States in November 2015.

In April, 2017, I founded Vista Falls Veterinary Hospital,  in scenic Mills River, North Carolina, where I plan to practice for many years to come.

My beautiful bride, Cathi, and I have been blessed with nine wonderful children, a golden retriever, Suma, a miniature yorkie, Mondu, and Berne-doodle, Fynn-lee and one cat, Max. In practice, surgery is my special interest but enjoy all aspects of veterinary medicine.  “Furry Pediatrics” is my specialty.  I enjoy sharing the Gospel, hiking, camping and building projects with my family.

Dr. Leslie Leidecker, DVM- Associate Veterinarian

Dr. Leidecker grew up in Connecticut and received a B.S. degree from Auburn University (War Eagle!)  and then obtained her DVM degree from the University of Georgia in 1998. After graduation, she worked in large animal medicine with a focus on equine reproduction in Apex, NC for 2 years followed by a move to Henderson County where she started her small animal career. In 2003 she opened Apple Valley Animal Hospital in Hendersonville and successfully grew that practice until its sale in 2010. Since that time, she has worked as a relief veterinarian in small animal medicine and has additional experience with spay/neuter clinics, emergency medicine and international veterinary missions. 

While working in Apex, Dr. Leidecker met her husband, Frank Stout and they have been married over 20 years. Together they have 4 daughters and 5 grandchildren and spent many years farming and raising/showing horses and Shetland Sheep. Since the days of farming are now over, when they are not working, they enjoy camping, traveling, and going on mission trips. Dr. Leidecker is also passionate about softball and homeschooling and enjoys coaching youth softball and teaching science classes to the homeschool community.  Her furry pets include Sami the chihuahua (whom Dr. Leidecker claims is the love of her life, but also the worst dog she’s ever owned), Carly the Lab (the obedient one), Minnie the Goldendoodle (the goofy one) and 2 rescue cats Possum and Piper.  

Dr. CJ Dabiero, DVM - Associate Veterinarian





Dr. Dabiero grew up in Greensboro, North Carolina. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He graduated from Ross University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2013 and finished his clinical studies at Auburn University.  He spent three years in a general practice before moving back home to North Carolina. Dr. Dabiero and his wife, Rebecca who is veterinarian oncologist at Upstate Specialty Hospital, have a young son and two labs. 

Dr. Dabiero is an avid outdoorsman whose passions include, hiking, fishing, camping and wood working. In his professional life, Dr. CJ’s interests include ultrasonography and surgery. 

Augi Payne, RVT - Registered Veterinary Technician

Augi Payne, Registered Veterinary Technician, is a North Carolina native and loves the mountains. She has always had a love and passion for animals at an early age. Augi completed the Vet Tech program at AB-Tech in May of 2018.

In her free time, Augi enjoys spending time with her husband, Austin, family and fur baby, Tallie.

As the family at Vista Falls grows, Augi looks forward to making long lasting relationships with you and your pets.

Fun fact: Augi and Austin met at their first job, Chick-Fil-A.

Sarah Stertzbach, RVT - Registered Veterinary Technician

Sarah recently graduated from the technician program at AB Tech in August of 2020. She is the middle child of three girls. Originally from Ohio, her family relocated to North Carolina in 2008.

When she is not taking care of animals at work and school, she enjoys spending time with her cat, Callie, and dog, Turbo. When not in her scrubs, you can catch her spending time with her closest friends.


Fun fact: Sarah’s BFF is a cat.

Cassidy Chapman, MS, BS - Veterinary Technician

Cassidy, a native to WNC, has been at the practice since 2018. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Asheville with her undergrad in Cellular and Molecular Biology. Since then, she has been working towards her Master’s degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology at Clemson University, and recently graduated in May of 2021. Cassidy is interested in pursuing her DVM degree. 

Cassidy recently married her best friend, Grant. She has two kids, Moo and Hazy. She enjoys spending time with her husband and family, going to the beach and snuggling on the couch with her pups. Cassidy looks forward to meeting you and your pets. 

Fun fact: Bears, beets, Battlestar Galactica 

Rhoda Green - Veterinary Assistant

Rhoda is a Tennessee native. She grew up on a small farm with eight brothers and two sisters. She moved to North Carolina four years ago and loves to call the mountains home.

Rhoda loves Jesus, dogs and horses. She has a Shetland Pony, named Miss. Lucy that has an attitude to match her name.
Rhoda enjoys spending time with her husband, Ethan, playing the piano and the violin and being outside.

Rhoda is excited to build a solid relationship with you and your pets.

Fun fact: Rhoda loves adventure. 


Morgan Griswold - Veterinary Assistant

Morgan is originally from Fort Lauderdale, FL but recently moved to North Carolina with her husband in May of 2021. She enjoys calling the mountains of WNC her new home. 

Morgan, along with her husband Will, have two dogs, Kayn and Pyke and one cat, Merlin. Morgan has worked in the veterinary field for two years and absolutely loves what she does. She is excited to meet all of our existing and new clients. 

Fun fact: Morgan, a Florida native, is scared of the ocean.