Current Board of Directors Members

Julie Shaw
KPA-CTP, RVT, VTS-Behavior


Julie Shaw was the Senior Animal Behavior Technologist at the Purdue University Animal Behavior Clinic in West Lafayette, Indiana for 13 years.

She is a charter member of the Society of Veterinary Behavior Technicians and Past President of the Academy of Veterinary Behavior Technicians. Ms. Shaw is the section Editor for Veterinary Technician journal and is a faculty member of the Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training and Behavior and ClickerExpo.

She is co-editing the first textbook for veterinary technicians on animal behavior, Animal Behavior for Veterinary Technicians and Nurses, pending publication in 2013 by Blackwell Publishing.

Julie is a popular national and international speaker on problem prevention, practical application of behavior modification techniques and a variety of other companion animal behavior related topics. She speaks throughout the country with the goal of bringing veterinarians, veterinary technicians and dog trainers together to work as a behavioral team for the pet owner.

She was the recipient of the North American Veterinary Conference 2006 Veterinary Technician Speaker of the Year Award and was named the 2007 NAVC Mara Memorial Lecturer of the year for her accomplishments and leadership in the veterinary technician profession and co-received the 2011 Society of Veterinary Behavior Technicians research award. She was also recognized as the Veterinary Technician Speaker of the Year for the 2009 Western Veterinary Conference.

Julie has trained two service dogs to assist her physically challenged son and created the "Faith" scholarship to the Karen Pryor Academy in the name of her son’s first service dog.

Shannon Coyner
President Elect


Shannon Coyner obtained her Bachelors Degree in Zoology in 1996 from Sonoma State University. She then earned her Veterinary Technology Degree (AA) from Cosumnes River College and became a RVT in 1999. Shannon always had an interest in behavior and worked on research projects through the Sacramento and San Francisco Zoo. She was also employed at a private zoo in Santa Rosa, CA, Safari West, where she was a tour guide, volunteer coordinator and the Serval handler. Shortly after becoming an RVT, Shannon began to attend behavior related conference and studied behavior on her own. Shannon currently teaches Puppy Kindergarten and Agility Classes, as well as works privately with animals that have behavioral issues. Shannon is also involved in an internship with Dr. Rachel Malamed, Board Certified Veterinary Behaviorist in Los Angeles.

Sherrie Yuschak
Past President


I graduated from Morehead State University with an associate of applied science degree in 1997. I have been employed as an RVT at Avery Animal Hospital for the past 9 ½ years where I teach a puppy preschool, kindergarten and kitten social class. I strive to contribute to the behavioral health of our patients on a daily basis through client education, staff training, and assisting the DVM with behavior consults. My background was attained through completing Purdue University’s DOGS! course and the DOGS and CATS course, Clicker Expo, veterinary conferences, self study and through skills learned during teaching positive reinforcement obedience training for 5 years. My future plans are to achieve a behavior specialty status, continue to learn from my peers at SVBT, and promote the human animal bond by creating awareness and a passion for behavioral health in the public and veterinary communities.

Donna Dyer
Acting Treasurer


Donna Dyer is a graduate of Bel-Rea Institute of Animal Technology in Denver, Colorado and is licensed to practice as a veterinary technician in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Donna’s interest in animal behavior developed while studying indigenous wildlife in East Africa as part of her zoology curriculum at The Ohio State University, leading to several years as a volunteer keeper and docent at the Denver Zoo. For the last 16 years, she has focused her efforts on companion animal behavior.

Her experience is varied and includes developing and implementing training programs for dog owners and veterinary professionals; working as a research assistant on several canine behavioral genetics projects at the Center for Neurobiology and Behavior, at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry; serving as editor for a scientific working group tasked with establishing consensus-based best practices for the use of canine/handler detection teams and setting standards for their certification; serving as the first editorial assistant for the Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research; co-authoring more than 10 peer-reviewed publications and owning and operating a home-based editing business. In addition to running her editing business, Donne currently is training people to implement a large government- run program.

Donna has served for ten years on VMAT2 as part of the National Disaster Medical System. She is also on the National Veterinary Response Team 2, formed after Hurricane Katrina.

Donna is a co-founder and past president of the Society of Veterinary Behavior Technicians.

Kait Hembree
Recording Secretary


Hi my name is Kait Hembree. I became involved with SVBT about two years ago after attending their annual conference. What began as love and passion and a desire to work with horses, has evolved into a behavioral career with small animals. After graduating from high school in the small town of Newnan, GA, I moved to Montana to pursue my passion for horses. While pursuing that love, I attended Montana State University graduating with both an Animal Science/Science and Biology degree in 2000. As a student, I became very involved with the local animal shelter and soon redirected my focus towards small animal medicine and care. While working as an assistant technician with Creekside Veterinary Hospital, I applied to take the VTNE and became a Licensed Veterinary Technician (LVT). While working as a LVT in Bozeman, MT, I continued to focus my interests on special need’s dogs both in and out of the veterinary environment.

After more than 10 years of working as a veterinary technician in Montana, I began expanding my efforts more and more with animal behavior modification outside of the veterinary arena as a dog trainer, pet-sitter and puppy socialization instructor. I began pursuing my Veterinary Technician Specialty-Behavior (VTS-Behavior) in 2009. As part of that pursuit, I have attended several behavior conferences through the Society for Veterinary Behavior Technicians (SVBT) and currently serve as their Recording Secretary on the SVBT Board. I also decided to hone my teaching and dog obedience skills by attending the Karen Pryor Dog Academy and became a graduate of their program in September 2011.

I am now excited to take my passion and skills to the clients and patients of Florida Veterinary Behavior Service in West Palm Beach, Fl. As an LVT and KPCT, I intend to continue focusing on the management of environments and behavior modification both in and out of the hospital to insure that both pets and owners have the most positive experience together as possible.

Rachel Lees
Corresponding Secretary


Rachel graduated from Cuyahoga Community College in May of 2009 with her Associates Degree in Veterinary Technology.  Immediately after graduation she was employed at a multi doctor general practice located in Parma, Ohio.  There she began running puppy socialization classes in her clinic as well as seeing private training appointments, and teaching basic obedience classes.  She also became the behavior advocate of her veterinary hospital, conducting happy visits and working with all the veterinary related aggression cases in the clinic.  In June of 2013, she resigned from her position at the general practice and accepted her current position at The Behavior Clinic in Olmsted Falls, Ohio.

In 2014 she received the "Faith Scholarship" from SVBT/AVBT and attended and successfully passed the Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training and Behavior and became a certified personal dog trainer.  "My interest in animal behavior sparked when my parents purchased a ‘bargain’ Newfoundland puppy in the fall of 2006.  Yogi was a very nervous and fearful puppy who has many behavioral diagnoses of his own.  Due to this, I have a special interest in canine and feline behavioral development and socialization."

Rachel’s overall goal is to aide owners in creating and maintaining a strong human- animal bond. She says, "I am currently working towards obtaining my VTS in Behavior.   I enjoy educating other veterinary professionals and owners in the world of veterinary behavior.  I currently share my time with my Miniature Pincher Mix, Connor and my Orange Tabby Cat, Ernie."

Paisley Latham
Member At Large


Paisley is an Eastern North Carolina native. As a child, Paisley was obsessed with animals. While having mostly cats in her household she was also exposed to hamsters, budgies, and even pet mice. Drawn to horses she spent many hours at the farms of family and friends riding and caring for every horse she met.

After finishing high school Paisley attended Martin Community College in Williamston, NC to further her education in Equine Technology, learning about the biology of horses, husbandry, and riding and training. While attending MCC Paisley– took an interest in veterinary medicine thanks to the openness and teaching instincts of the local mobile equine veterinarians. It was during an internship with these veterinarians Paisley learned about Registered Veterinary Technicians. Paisley attended the Veterinary Medical Technology program at Central Carolina Community College in Sanford, NC. In 2010 she graduated with honors, passed her national and state board exams, and began her career as a RVT in Durham, NC.  School also exposed her to the world of dogs and she adopted her very first dog, Ezra, from the school’s onsite colony.

Since childhood Paisley has understood animals are sentient beings with emotions and the ability to feel pain. As an RVT she strives to educate pet owners on the physical and emotional well-being of all animals. She continues her own education through self-study and seminars on animal behavior and dog training and hopes to achieve status as a CPDT KA and attain her VTS in Behavior.

Joyce Allinger
Member At Large


Joyce was in the first graduating class of Pima Community College Vet Tech Program in 2003 in Tucson Arizona and went on to work in private practice before going into academia to become the Laboratory Specialist for Pima Community College’s veterinary technician program in 2006.

Joyce has worked for Pima Community College Vet Tech Program for almost nine years and loves the student interaction and hands on labs and seeing that desire from the students to achieve their higher goals. She loves the interaction with the animals and helping them become suitable and adoptable pets at the end of the semester.

Joyce says, "I am very interested in moving forward in my career and seeking the training for being a VTS in behavior. If all goes well and I can get the hands on training and skills/time required, I hope to take my exam in 2016. This is something I have wanted to do for a long time. In my current job position, I have that opportunity to make a positive learning experience for both students and animals and make it a reality. I can also be the bridge between the new owners and their newly adopted, forever pet.  I keep in touch with the adopters and check to see how their animal is doing. I get occasional questions and they send me pictures of their new addition and sometimes they will bring them in to visit. To see the transformation from where they started out here, to their happily ever after, is heartwarming.   It makes the skills and support that I give- these students to use to achieve this goal really pay off in the end. I am very proud of them."

She is also married to a very patient man, has one son, 4 demanding cats and 5 pampered dogs.