Our Veterinarian Team Chino Valley, AZ
Get To Know Our Team
Dr. Armstrong, DVM, CVT, CVA
Dr. Leonda Armstrong grew up on a farm in northeastern New Mexico. Her parents raised and bred registered Angus cattle and quarter horses. She was active in 4-H and FFA from age 9 to 19. Leonda showed horses and cattle in both organizations and judged horses on a collegiate level.
Dr. Armstrong completed her undergraduate studies at New Mexico State University where she earned a B.S. in Animal Science and a double minor in Chemistry and Biology. Colorado State University was the next stop, where as a single mom, she studied and graduated as a mixed animal veterinarian.
Upon graduation, Leonda moved to Chino Valley and began practice with Dr. Terry Miller at Circle L. She is very glad to call Circle L Animal Hospital her home away from home.
In April 2007, Dr. Armstrong purchased the practice from Dr. Terry Miller. She implemented many new improvements including becoming AAHA-certified, and strives to hold the highest standards in veterinary medicine.
Her most recent endeavor has been merging Western and Eastern veterinary medicine together. To support this goal, Dr. Armstrong obtained her Acupuncture certification through Colorado State University in 2013 and now has completed her Rehabilitaion studies and certification through the Canine Rehabilitation Institute in June 2016. She feels that being able to treat the whole animal with non-invasive medicine adds another important dimension of care, and gives the best feeling of accomplishment for “Every Patient, Every time.” . Dr. Armstrong has a strong desire to work with sporting dogs as well as keeping the senior dogs healthy and moving to improve their quality of life. She is now embarking on the next step of becoming Animal Chiropractic Certified and is studying Chinese Herbology. This will allow her to offer every aspect of care for her 4 legged patients.
Dr. Armstrong also owns 4Paws Rehabilitation & Wellness Clinic in Prescott, and she practices veterinary medicine and canine rehabilitation there three days a week so she can help as many local pets as possible.
Email Dr. Armstrong:
Dr. Francesena (Fran), DVM
Originally from Cienfuegos, Cuba. Dr. Francesena received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of the West Indies in the beautiful twin-island Republic of Trinidad and Tobago in 2014. She then worked as a veterinary technician for 4 years while becoming a US accredited veterinarian and is now licensed to practice in Florida and Arizona.
She is passionate and committed to offering the best quality evidence-based medicine and has a special interest in internal medicine, behavior, and dentistry. She aims to strengthen the human-animal bond through effective client communication and preventive medicine education.
When she is not taking care of your fur babies, Dr. Francesena enjoys hiking, paddle boarding, gardening, and dancing.
Chelsie Hamel, Hospital Manager
Years in Practice: 10+ Years
Education: Cedar Valley College / Norco High School
Hobbies and Interests: Free time I spend time with my husband and two boys, and spending time with our four dogs.
Manager Colette Nguyen, Veterinary Assitant
Born and raised in Tennessee, Colette moved to Arizona about three years ago.
Colette began her veterinary career at Circle L Animal Hospital as a Hospital Assistant in March 2012. It was her passion for animals that initially brought her into the veterinary field, striving to help animals and provide them with the very best possible care that she can. Colette boasts more than five years of experience, working her way through the ranks to become a Veterinary Assistant and the proud recipient of the Circle L Animal Hospital Employee of the Year for 2014, which is determined by the rest of the team. Colette is currently attending training to become a certified Rehabilitation Technician.
Her hobbies include improvement projects in and around her home as well as at Circle L Animal Hospital. She also enjoys playing ball with her Corgi/Miniature Australian Shepherd mix Chevy and, when the weather is warm, Colette can often be found spending time with her plants, enjoying the outdoors and the peace and quiet of her garden.
Years in Practice: 10+
Education: Auburn University College of Veterianary Medicine
Tierra Benjamin, Veterinary Assistant
She feels proud being part of our team and feels proud on herself.
Education: Animal Behavior College
Years in Practice: 1.5 Years
Hobbies and Interests: Free time I focus on reading and snuggling up with my two cats.
Malia Kepilino, Veterinary Assistant
She said that the biggest thing in my role at a practice would be my patient care. Patient cares to me is the most important part because I can make difference in not only my patient but the owners as well. They trust us with their family. So I always treat both patient and client as a part of my family.
Years in Practice: 7 Years
Hobbies and Interests: I enjoy hiking, travelling with family and my pet. I enjoy being creative drawing, painting and photography. Also enjoy learning about cultures and the history behind traditions.
Brooke Apfel, Veterinary Assistant
Her passion is to taking care of and helping Arizona wildlife and the pets in my community.
Years in Practice: 3 Years
Education: Yavapai College
Hobbies and Interests: Camping, gardening, painting and spending time with my family.
Melissa Gutierrez, Veterinary Assitant
Education: University of La Verne
Years in Practice: 4 Months
Hobbies and Interests: My husband and I like taking out our rat terrier tango out on puppy sized adventure in the great outdoors. I also enjoy baking, sewing, knitting and occasionally binge watching shows on Netflix.
Shari Hill-Boarding/Hospital Assistant
Education: A.S.U B.S.C Engineering, 1999 Currently Retired
Years in Practice: 3 Years as Kennal Assistant
Kylie Yunis, Boarding/Hospital Assistant
She is very empathetic with animals and loves to give them as much love and care as she can.
Education: Yavapai College
Years in Practice: 1.5 Years
Hobbies and Interests: I like to spend time with my dogs and with my family. I also work on dog training with my dogs
Shirley Tyler, CSR
Getting patients scheduled as quickly as possible especially if they are sick.
Years in Practice: 33 Years in mixed practice and 5 years in small animal practice
Education: Utah state University
Hobbies and Interests: Take care of my animals, reading, cooking, camping/travelling.
Ryan Nored, CSR
She treats every patients as her own and make sure they feel safe, comforted let the pets know it is a good place to be. Have a personal connection with every clients/patients.
Years in Practice: 4 Years
Education: Paso Robels high School
Hobbies and Interests: Riding horses, camping with friends/family spend time with my animals, off road riding with my quad dirt bike & razor ride jetskis/boat on the lake listen to music. Have fun with friends and family. Travel to new places/explore.
Her empathy and critical thinking skills are her foundation when taking care of any of our clients and patients. Being able to put herself in your shoes to deliver the highest quality customer service and care is always her goal.
Education: Northern Arizona University
Years in Practice: 1 Month
Hobbies and Interests: I have a ton of different hobbies! I enjoy both reading and writing fantasy and fiction, as well as playing games of similar genres. Dungeons and dragons, Skyrim, and dragon as my go-tos! I also enjoy horse back riding, hiking, camping, watching football and hockey, knitting, and taking care of my small firm.