Our Staff

Aaron Schechter, DVM


Dr. Aaron Schechter received his Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from UC Davis. He graduated from UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in 1999. He joined the Atascadero Pet Hospital & Emergency Center in 2000, working alongside his father, Dr. Robert Schechter, to expand our facility.

In 2003, he augmented his role as a veterinarian by becoming a practice owner. His interests extend to orthopedic surgery and ophthalmology. He is a certified PennHip veterinarian, as well as a certified TPLO veterinarian.

Dr. Schechter and his wife, Carrie, enjoy driving their Jeep on 4×4 trails, snowboarding, winemaking and spending their time with their two children, Isaac and Eva.

Ofer Cherbinsky, DVM


Dr. Ofer Cherbinsky received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Koret School of Veterinary Medicine at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 2001.

He joined the Atascadero Pet Hospital & Emergency Center in 2003, bringing his interest in diagnostic imaging and helping us make great advancements using our digital X-ray equipment, ultrasound, and CT scan machines.
In January 2008, he extended his responsibilities to include practice owner alongside Dr. Aaron Schechter. He also completed a Small Animal Abdominal Ultrasound Fellowship at UC Davis.

Dr. Cherbinsky and his wife, Tami, were married in 2000 and have four children. Very family-oriented, they came to the U.S. in order to be closer to family who were already here. They enjoy planning family outings and spending time together with their children.

Jennifer Burke, DVM


Dr. Jennifer Burke graduated from UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in 1988. In 1996, she became certified in veterinary acupuncture. She then continued her training at Emperor’s College in Santa Monica, taking courses in 1998 and 1999.

In 2000, Dr. Burke made the move to the Central Coast and joined the Atascadero Pet Hospital & Emergency Center. Her interests include emergency medicine and acupuncture.

Dr. Burke is one of the few veterinarians on the Central Coast to practice small-animal acupuncture. She is an avid hiker and loves the beautiful trails the Central Coast has to offer. She loves traveling to many different places and exploring unique cities within California.

Leah Krugman, DVM


Originally from the Bay Area, Dr. Leah Krugman came to the Central Coast and received her Bachelor of Science in Animal Science from Cal Poly in 2006. She then went on to graduate from Washington State University Veterinary School in 2011.

Dr. Krugman decided to attend veterinary school after her horse passed away from colic, and she wanted to make something positive out of that experience. In addition to that, she had always loved animals and excelled in science. After graduating from veterinary school, Dr. Krugman moved back to the Central Coast.

She officially joined the team at Atascadero Pet Hospital & Emergency Center in February 2015; however, she had already been working relief here for a few months while working at other clinics in the area. Her professional interests include behavior and surgery.

Outside of work, Dr. Krugman enjoys riding and doing trick work with her horse, photography, baking, and doing crafts such as crocheting and sewing. She also enjoys relaxing at home with her husband, son, two cats, and dog.

Cody Brooks, DVM


Dr. Cody Brooks received his Bachelor of Science in Animal Science from Cal Poly in 2013. He worked at Atascadero Pet Hospital & Emergency Center from 2011-2013 as a veterinary assistant before leaving to attend Washington State University Veterinary School.

After graduating with his DVM in 2017, Dr. Brooks spent a year doing a small animal emergency internship followed by a year of overnight shifts working in emergency practice in San Francisco. He returned to Atascadero Pet Hospital as a doctor in June 2019.

Passionate about emergency medicine, his interests include toxicology, transfusion medicine and CPR. Dr. Brooks knew he was in the right profession from the very beginning. When he started working at a vet clinic in high school, it instantly felt like a good fit for him. He enjoys navigating the combination of scientific knowledge, problem solving and communication that goes into veterinary medicine.

Dr. Brooks lives in Paso Robles with his fiancé, Tina, their golden retriever Clover, and their cat Kuzco (who was a former sick stray brought into the hospital).

Kristin Anderson, DVM


Dr. Kristin Anderson joined Atascadero Pet Hospital & Emergency Center in 2019 after previously working at another 24/7 emergency practice in Redding, Calif. She originally came to the Central Coast to study animal science at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Dr. Anderson fell in love with the area and knew she wanted to come back one day. She left the area after her undergrad to attend veterinary school at Atlantic Veterinary College on Prince Edward Island in Canada.

Dr. Anderson first considered becoming a vet when she was a junior in high school. She had a school project where she had to interview someone in a profession of interest; while she had no clue who to talk to, her mom suggested a veterinarian since she already loved science and animals. Dr. Anderson ended up interviewing a vet while he performed emergency surgery, and she was completely fascinated by the experience.

Outside of work, Dr. Anderson does a lot of hiking and camping, often accompanied by her three-legged dog, Ranger. She also loves books, international travel and has been known to run the occasional half-marathon.

Tonya Blanco-Kung, DVM


Dr. Tonya Blanco-Kung started working at Atascadero Pet Hospital & Emergency Center between semesters of veterinary school in 2016. She had experience working as a veterinary assistant since her sophomore year of high school and focused her education on becoming a vet.

After she graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Animal Science from Cal Poly in 2012, Dr. Blanco-Kung had the opportunity to manage a rat colony for a research group studying stem cell therapy at UC Irvine. This experience reignited her passion for science, medicine and research; she attended veterinary school at St. George’s University and completed her clinical training at Oregon State University in 2020.

During her time in vet school, Dr. Blanco-Kung was a student facilitator for histopathology and clinical pathology while also running workshops for mental health and improv. She completed training for certification in veterinary acupuncture, too.

Dr. Blanco-Kung is an avid board game, RPG and trivia aficionado. She is also a huge theatre buff, and improv comedy is one of her loves, alongside her two dogs, Neut and Wilkes. Neut is a black Labrador and Wilkes is a German Shepherd Mastiff mix.

Natalie Castañeda, DVM


Dr. Natalie Castañeda grew up in Costa Mesa, Calif. and originally came to the Central Coast for college. She attended Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo where she graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Animal Science in 2016.

She graduated from Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine in 2021 and started working at Atascadero Pet Hospital & Emergency Center in June 2021. Her primary interests include soft tissue surgery and emergency medicine.

Dr. Castañeda knew she was in the right field for her after volunteering with World Vets in Nicaragua. She found that being able to provide veterinary care for communities in need was very fulfilling. She especially values being able to connect with people in the community through their animals.

Dr. Castañeda lives in Morro Bay with her beagle, Rufus, and her husband, Zach. In her spare time, she enjoys backpacking and hiking the many trails in San Luis Obispo County, and walking her dog at the Morro Bay dog beach.

Monica Tetnowski, DVM


Dr. Monica Tetnowski started working at Atascadero Pet Hospital & Emergency Center in August 2021. She attended veterinary school at St. George’s University, and she completed her clinical training at Oregon State University.

After graduating from veterinary school in 2020, Dr. Tetnowski worked in a small general practice in Orange County, California where she grew up. She had always been a big animal lover, but didn’t consider a career in veterinary medicine until college. This was when she realized she could combine her love of science, problem solving and animals into one fantastic career.

Outside of work, Dr. Tetnowski enjoys playing games with friends, birdwatching and going on adventures with her dog.

Robert Schechter, DVM


Dr. Robert Schechter holds several Bachelor of Science degrees and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Illinois. He holds a Ph.D. in physiology as well. He has been a naval officer, a Peace Corps volunteer and a professor at Cal Poly Pomona. He owned Central Veterinary Group, consisting of three hospitals in L.A., until he chose to retire and move to Atascadero so his wife, a physician, could start her own practice in our area.

In 1988, he established the Atascadero Pet Center. He brought his son, Dr. Aaron Schechter, to the practice in 2000, as he began incorporating a multi-veterinarian approach. In 2002, he saw the need for an emergency facility and expanded the practice to include 24-hour emergency medicine. His interests include surgery, preventative medicine, wellness care and emergency medicine.

He and his wife, Patricia, were married in 1966 in Urbana, Illinois. They have four biological children and five adopted children. He enjoys collecting antique cars and is an avid baseball fan.

Kealy Rode, DVM


Dr. Kealy Rode is a San Diego native who moved to the central coast back in 2010 to attend Cal Poly. She graduated in 2014 with a BS in Animal Science. She then joined the APC team as a veterinary technician while she pursued her RVT license. Dr. Rode worked as an RVT at APC for 5 years before moving to Tucson, AZ to attend veterinary school.

Dr. Rode graduated in 2023 with the inaugural class from The University of Arizona College of Veterinary Medicine.

She is excited to be back at APC as a veterinarian as she has always had a special place in her heart for not only APC but the central coast of California.

Dr. Rode’s veterinary interests include a combination of emergency medicine, preventative care, and client education.

Her interests outside of work include cooking, exploring local restaurants and breweries, and spending quality time with her husband Seth and 2 dogs, Tig and Snoop.

Adriane Bailey

Practice Manager

Kristina Pearson

Hospital Operations Manager