Our Vets and Staff

  • Amy Dacey

    Amy Dacey

    Practice Manager

    Born and raised in Texas, Amy relocated to South Florida to be by the ocean. She has 23 years veterinary management experience. Amy is married and has a daughter and a son. She has dogs, sphynx cats, snakes, lizards, fish and a hedgehog that keep her busy when she is not at work.

  • Dr. Kelly Vernon

    Dr. Kelly Vernon

    Medical Director, Veterinarian

    Dr. Kelly Vernon was that kid who used her doctor playset as a vet kit and doctored her stuffed animals. She grew up in Vero Beach, Fl., and later attended the University of Florida. Upon graduating a cum laude Gator in 2004, she moved to Sebastian, FL., where she began working at Highlands Animal Hospital. In 2008, Buffalo Ridge was being built and was hired to act as the lead veterinarian and medical director. Vernon helped put together the practice protocols early-on. She credits her mentors Dr. George and Lisa Jutras for preparing her in veterinary medicine. They hired her as an assistant,  and then promoted her to veterinary technician when she began working for them in high school. They later employed her as a veterinarian when she graduated. “They taught me to work hard and play hard and to put my patients first, above all,” Vernon said. Her focuses have expanded to dermatology and senior care, and she holds a certification for veterinary acupuncture. She is married to James and share four children in a blended family. They have four dogs, three cats, a hedgehog, a bearded dragon, and backyard chickens. Her hobbies include hiking, traveling and reading. Dr. Vernon splits her time between both clinics. 

  • Dr. Jason Sexton

    Dr. Jason Sexton


  • Dr. Jennifer M. Madera

    Dr. Jennifer M. Madera


    Growing up in rural Arkansas, Jennifer was very active in 4-H and spent most of her free time riding with friends or at local horse shows. She always loved animals and was fascinated with science. These interests combined with her desire to help others made veterinary medicine the perfect fit.  She graduated from the University Of Missouri College Of Veterinary Medicine in 2004 and immediately started an ambulatory internship at our parent company, Peterson & Smith. She spent 12 years as an ambulatory equine veterinarian before moving to Buffalo Ridge and the small animal world. In her free time, Jennifer loves reading, traveling, and learning the ins and outs of motherhood. 

  • Dr. Danielle Heckman

    Dr. Danielle Heckman


    Dr. Danielle Heckman is originally from New Orleans, Louisiana and received her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Louisiana State University.  After graduation she moved to Florida and began her career in a small animal practice near Crystal River. She enjoys all aspects of veterinary medicine and particularly enjoys soft tissue surgery and emergency/trauma care. She and her husband, David, share their home with three dogs, one cat, a lovebird, quaker parrot, ball python, fresh and salt water fish, and a small flock of backyard chickens. In her free time Dr. Heckman enjoys reading, camping, needlework and yoga.

  • Dr. Meghan Richey

    Emergency Veterinarian

    Dr. Meghan Richey is a 1982 honors graduate of Auburn University. She grew up in Kentucky and did her pre-veterinary studies at Morehead State University.

    She joined Buffalo Ridge Animal Hospital as an emergency doctor in July 2015, bringing with her many years experience in emergency and specialty veterinary care. 

    She and her husband, Dr. Charles McGrath ( a retired veterinary anesthesiologist) live in north Ocala on a farm with 4 horses, 10 cats, and a dog. In her free time, Dr. Richey rides and competes at three-day eventing and helps her husband with his combined driving horses. 

    Dr. Richey has published articles in veterinary journals and books and is a consultant on the Veterinary Information Network for anesthesia, analgesia and emergency medicine. She regularly attends annual International Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society meeting, the American College of Veterinary Anesthesia and Analgesia meeting, as well as other local, state and national meetings.

    Her interests in veterinary medicine include anesthesia, pain management, critical care, and ultrasound.  


  • Dr. Whitelock

    After graduating from Tuskegee University School of Veterinary Medicine in 2003, I moved to Aiken, SC where I practiced for 10 years before moving back home to Fort Lauderdale, FL in 2013. Although I was born and raised in Ft. Lauderdale and I still have a lot of family and friends there, it is just not the place for me anymore. Looking for a little quieter, friendlier place I moved to Leesburg, FL in February 2017 and became a member of the Buffalo Ridge family. I share my life with my wonderful fiancé, Henry, 3 fabulous dogs - Mason, Zoe, and London and an awesome cat, Layla. My hobbies are fitness and watching NBA basketball, college and NFL football. Let's Go HEAT!!