Veterinary Services:

About Us - McKinleyville Animal Care Center

Full-Service Veterinary Clinic

Cathy Schmall, D.V.M/Owner

Born and raised in a farming and agricultural family and community in the Central Valley of California, Dr. Cathy Schmall has had a lifelong love of animals. After graduating from Humboldt State University, she worked several years as a wildlife technician for the US Forest Service before being admitted to the Atlantic Veterinary College in Prince Edward Island, Canada.

She graduated in 1995, and apparently not tired of the snow and bugs, she completed a rotating internship at a specialty center in Rochester, NY. Armed with education and some experience, she was excited to move back to California and begin practicing veterinary medicine.

In 2011, she moved back to the Humboldt area and worked at a local vet hospital until 2015 when she jumped at the chance to purchase McKinleyville Animal Care Center. For her, this was full circle as she had worked here for several years prior to leaving for vet school and since returning has enjoyed reuniting with several former coworkers and of course many, many loyal clients.

When not at work she loves to travel internationally and learn about other cultures or kayak and hike with her dogs and her wife in our beautiful local surroundings.

Rachel Bird, D.V.M

Rachel was born and raised in Humboldt County. After graduating from Eureka High School, she received her bachelor’s degree in animal science from UC Davis. She was then accepted to UC Davis Veterinary School and graduated in 2009 and worked at McKinleyville Animal Care Center since then.

During her downtime, she, her husband, and their three children can be found hiking around our beautiful county with their dog at Mad River Beach while enjoying all of Humboldt.

Jeff Stegmaier D.V.M

Jeff grew up in Upland California where his thoughts of being a veterinarian began at an early age. He moved to Humboldt in 2002 to study Zoology. While studying, he was working at MACC as a kennel attendant in 2009, and then as a vet tech until he graduated with honors from HSU.

He then went to Minnesota State University College of Veterinary Medicine and studied 4 years of veterinary medicine. Jeff graduated from Minnesota State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2017 at the top 5% of his class.

Jeff and his girlfriend Sarah relocated back to Humboldt with their dog Jiggles, cat Burma, turtle Roy, and two snakes.

Heidi Chavez, Owner/Manager

Originally from Hesperia, California, Heidi moved to Humboldt County after high school and started her career with animals as a pet groomer. In 2005, Heidi got her first position in veterinary medicine as a receptionist at Sunny Brae Animal Clinic.

After 5 years, Heidi was presented with the opportunity to manage McKinleyville Animal Care Center. There, she contributed to rebuilding and growing the practice for nearly 5 years. In 2015, Heidi partnered with Dr. Cathy Schmall and purchased McKinleyville Animal Care Center. Today, she is a proud owner and manager with over 20 employees, including 4 doctors.

Heidi is happily married. She now has a 11-year-old son, Cruz and, a quickly growing 6-year-old, Andres, and a 14-month-old, Rico. Heidi enjoys raising her family here in McKinleyville, CA.

Julia Sanders, Assistant Manager

Julia was one of our amazing long-term receptionists and went on to be cross trained as a technician, learning new skills and perspectives. Last year, she was promoted to assistant manager where she oversees our daily operations. Julia was made to manage and motivate staff. Her skills and knowledge are growing every day.

She grew up in Ruth Lake where she was able to enjoy hunting and fishing. Julia is the owner of 2 dogs and a cat. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her husband and starting new adventures.

Meet Our Customer Service Representatives

Desiree has been with us for over 3 years and what a gem. She is professional and will always go out of her way to educate our clients properly and keep them happy. She also enjoys using her skills at her other job, the Humboldt Wildlife Care Center. Desiree is taking on extra tasks to keep our front store stocked with food and goodies. She is also cross trained as a veterinary assistant.

Sarah is our front-end lead receptionist. She has been dedicated to us for over two years. Sarah is extremely thorough and detail oriented ensuring she is tackling all of her daily responsibilities. This is why we count on her to train many of our new team members.

Bette has been with our clinic for over twelve years. She has worked primarily in reception but over the last 2 years she has transitioned to being a bookkeeper. Bette is extremely detail-oriented making this position a perfect fit. She also enjoys keeping our practice organized and our clients happy. Bette is our family and we would be lost without her.

Kathryn, Amanda and Alexis joined us in 2022/2023. They are all amazing additions to our family. Staying calm, cool, and collected is the way these three tackles their day. We are looking forward to watching them grow with us!

Technicians/Kennel Asst.

Lori (RVT)

is a registered veterinary technician who is working for us for almost 30 years now. She is very partial to the small and fluffy! Lori helps in every part of the hospital. She spends her free time with her wonderful family seeking out all the great spots in Humboldt to enjoy.

Maureen (RVT)

is a registered veterinary technician who has been with us close to 4 years. She traveled from LA for a new take on life. She is an excellent multitasker and loves her patients. Maureen also does all our in-clinic ordering. When she isn’t working her 40+ weekly hours, she enjoys raising her beautiful son in Trinidad.

Maria (RVT)

is a registered veterinary technician, who joined our team in 2021. She is an extremely hard worker. You will never find her not doing something. She also takes care of you when we are on call for county emergencies. Whether that is 3pm on a Sunday or 3am on a Saturday night, she is always ready to work hard to care of your furry family members. Maria spends her days off with her husband and pups in Trinidad.

Mary has been with us for almost 40 years and can’t stay retired. She enjoys her semi-retirement in Trinidad and helps our team out whenever we need her. Her skill set is the best and any animal is lucky to have her as their caretaker.

Other technicians…Kayla, Alexa, Anisa and Anna are what makes this clinic run smoothly. They are all cross trained and very hard workers. They all love what they do and it shows every day. We hope you get the pleasure of meeting them soon!

Amber is a returning team member who works for us in the kennels. She is now also tackling a new position as a receptionist and is excelling. Amber enjoys spending time with her large family when she is not working hard for you and your furry family members.

Izzy, Gabby and Rowan are our key players in keeping our boarding side running smoothly. They also keep our facility clean and sanitized along with walking our four-legged friends and keeping your pets clean and well cared for while they stay with us.

We all look forward to serving you and your pet in McKinleyville, CA!