Meet Our Veterinarians and Staff


Craig B. Hempel, DVM
Owner and CEO of Mountainview

Craig B. Hempel

Dr. Hempel, a native Californian who was born and raised in San Diego, graduated from SDSU with a BS in Zoology.  He then graduated with honors, as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Since that time, Dr. Hempel has been practicing medicine in Lake Elsinore for over 29 years.  In 1988, he became a 50% owner of Mountainview Small Animal Hospital with Dr. Thomas Jessup, and in 2012 he became the sole owner of the practice. Early in his career, Dr. Hempel found he had a natural aptitude for surgery and as a result of his interest and skill in this area, he is our primary surgeon.  Additionally, his advanced training and interest in ultrasound technology allow for a broader range of diagnostic medicine, which he enjoys.

Dr. Hempel’s wife Monica is an elementary school teacher, and together they have two grown children, Jenna and Christopher, and one wonderful little granddaughter, Tessa; not to mention a handful of rescued dogs running around his house.  When he finds free time, Dr. Hempel enjoys deep-sea fishing, distance running, tennis, camping, auto mechanics and working on home-improvement or other “fix it” projects.

Chante D. Tran, DVM, CVA
Associate Veterinarian, Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist

Chante D. Tran

Meet Dr Chante Tran!

Dr. Tran always wanted to be a veterinarian—her mom can recall a very young Chante announcing that she wanted to be a vet and take care of animals; and Dr Tran worked very hard to achieve that goal. From rescuing animals as a young girl to earning her degree and working as a veterinarian, Dr. Tran is so thankful she was able to achieve her dream of being able to help our clients and take care of their fur babies.  Dr. Tran’s warm, empathetic demeanor make her a wonderful addition to the Mountainview team and rest assured she will take the very best care of our patients as if they were her own.

The desire to care-give runs in Dr. Tran’s family--her husband and best friend Huy is a Registered Nurse in Riverside, CA.  Together they have two beautiful little girls Aaliyah and Amerie as well as a houseful of pets that includes 4 dogs, a cat, turtles, goldfish and a lizard.  When she’s not spending time with her family or busy taking care of her fur babies (and shelled, fish and lizard skinned babies), she enjoys bike riding, working out at the gym and going to her favorite place: Disneyland.

Dr. Tran received her BA in Biology from Cal State University San Bernardino and later, graduated from St Georges University of Veterinary Medicine in 2011.  She gained 5 years’ experience working as a DVM at Butchko Veterinary Hospital and Apple Valley Banfield Pet Hospital and we were fortunate enough to have her join our practice in 2016.

Finally, in 2019, after a year-long course and flying back and forth to Florida for hands-on lessons and testing, Dr Tran obtained her CVA by completing both the initial and advanced courses in Veterinary Acupuncture. She is very excited to bring Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine into the practice and plans on expanding her expertise in this area by continuing her education in the area of herbal medicine, food therapy and Tui-na in conjunction with Traditional Western Medicine--Dr. Tran feels we can incorporate the best of both worlds and enrich the lives of our patients for many years to come by doing so. 

Melanie Mitchell, DVM
Relief Veterinarian

Melanie  Mitchell

Here is a face some of you already know, and others may occasionally see in the future. Dr Melanie Mitchell (Dr Mel) has been our relief veterinarian too far back to remember; and before that she worked here as a kennel attendant and then as a receptionist while going to college before she went off to UC Davis.  We love having Dr Mel here with us and you can be sure your pet will be in good hands when you come in and see Dr Mel.







Kari was hired at Mountainview in 1989 as a kennel attendant.  Over many years, and under the watchful eye of her mentor, Dr. Hempel, she became an exceptional veterinary technician who sat for and passed her CA State Board Exams in 2009.   Kari is the glue that holds our hospital together—she is the go-to person when inventory needs ordering, or if medical equipment needs repair or replacing-she is on it.  In her spare time Kari is an extremely competitive and skilled softball player, playing on teams that have made it to the World Series of Softball.  She also enjoys camping, fishing and any other outdoorsy activity that where she can spend time with her husband and young son.





Karen began working in the veterinary field in 1997.  She graduated from The Professional Veterinary Assistant School in Garden Grove, then sat for and passed, the California State Board exams in 2005.  With 7 years’ experience working at a progressive veterinary facility in Orange County, we were excited when the opportunity to add Karen to our team of technicians arose in 2007.  Karen is very popular with our clients, probably due to her approachable and caring nature and her desire to go above and beyond in helping when problems arise.  In her spare time, Karen enjoys spending time with her son James, and her dog, Lolly.





Katie came to us with a B.S. in Animal Biology from U.C. Davis and an A.S. in Veterinary Technology from Mt SAC, and wanting to ‘get her foot in the door’, in 2015, Katie began working for us as a receptionist until a technician slot opened up.  Katie obtained her RVT designation in 2017 and subsequently began the transition into the RVT position she holds now.

Katie has plans to get her Masters in Animal Science with a focus on nutrition in order to teach at the college level later in her career. In the meantime, while she is on a break from her studies, Katie fawns over her German Shepherd dog “Guinness” and attempts to fawn over her Maine Coon cat “Victor”, who isn’t having any of it.

 When she’s not traveling to other countries, going to concerts or camping, she enjoys baking—which makes the staff at Mtn View happy.

Her love for 80’s new wave/pop music probably led to her penchant for wearing copious amounts of glitter in middle school, which she now regrets and would like to publicly apologize for.











Ashley started in the kennel in 2008, and in 2011 she was promoted to veterinary assistant, where she loves to work with our patients. She has three dogs, Hunny, a Chihuahua who is the ruler of the house, Phoebe, her Golden Retriever and Roxy, a border collie who is a cancer survivor (YAY!!) that still loves to play with her Frisbee.
During her off time, she loves to go shopping and socialize with her co-workers and friends.







We were lucky to find Aysia and bring her on board in July of 2014.  Originally from the New England area, she traveled extensively over the last few years and ultimately gravitated to our area. She had no previous experience in the veterinary field, but learned quickly and proved to be a crucial part of the receptionist team; so much so that she was appointed Head Receptionist in May of 2016 and she now supervises the front desk staff and its day to day activities.  Aysia, like many of our staff members, is an outdoorsy type who enjoys camping, hiking and gardening as well as going to concerts.  She has quite the menagerie of pets at her home, including 3 dogs, a cat, chickens and a couple of geckos.
If you have a question about your bill, payment issue, or some other front-desk related matter, Aysia is your go-to girl and she is ready to help.





Noelle has been lighting up the reception desk with her bright smile and affable personality since June of 2017. It’s not surprising to learn she was a high school cheerleader for many years-as she still seems to carry that enthusiastic charm about her in her day to day activities.

Noelle, an owner of three little dogs, has become so enamored with our hospital cats, she can’t stop taking pictures of them; in fact, many of our Facebook photos are ones Noelle has taken.  

When she’s not at work, she loves going to the beach, line dancing, and playing with her two Chihuahuas, Chance and Cash, and her Dorkie dog, Tanner.  

We are lucky to have such a friendly and competent young lady as an addition to our reception staff.




Kennel Attendant


Maria (who came on board in 2000) has been taking excellent care of our hospitalized patients and boarders for 18 years. Only Kari, our head RVT has been with the practice longer.
Even though Maria is a little bitty gal, she is able to handle the most rambunctious of pets with patience and kindness, and (having raised two amazing kids) the "mommy" tone of voice helps too. 
Maria is easily one of the best cooks at Mountainview--the staff goes nuts when they know she's making tamales, and don't even get me started on her Posole.....






Mascot / Therapist / Food Critic


Say hello to Rascal! Rascal was born in 2003, and he is living the dream—who wouldn’t want 14 women at his beck and call every day? He has the Mountainview Staff trained very well. They provide him with yummy treats, lots of unconditional love, and they don’t hold it against him when he “samples” their breakfast or lunches without permission.

He is a great cuddler, and he loves to be held, especially when it’s really busy. You can often spot him cruising passed the front desk, so don’t be surprised if he jumps up to say hello when you stop in.


About Us

Free vaccines for life programFree Vaccines For Life Program

Last Saturday was my first visit to this hospital. Unfortunately it was to have my beloved 19 year old cat, Shadow, put to sleep. The staff was very kind and thoughtful. They made the whole very difficult process as easy as possible. Everyone showed my sweet boy the respect he deserved as one of our family passing. I will definitely bring my pets here in the future for all of their needs as well as recommend Mountainview to anyone searching for a vet in our area. Thank you all for the kindness shown.
— Natheena S