Meet Our Team

Our Doctors

Dr. Johnathan Lax, BVSc


Dr. Johnathan Lax, BVSc graduated from the Veterinary School (Onderstepoort) at the University of Pretoria in South Africa in 1980. He owned a Veterinary practice in Mafikeng , a rural town 100 miles from anywhere for 10 years before coming to the USA. He was responsible for the entire town’s pet population, as well as cattle ranches, dairy farms, wild animal parks, a crocodile farm, and the local horse/donkey/mule population.

Dr. Lax immigrated to the USA in 1990 with his wife Jill and after a short stay as a relief vet in Oklahoma City, moved to San Diego, where both he and Jill gained employment in North County. Jill is a very famous local high school teacher.

In 1995 Dr. Lax opened Alga Pet Hospital in Carlsbad. In August 2009 he relocated the Hospital to bigger premises in Bressi Ranch. He prides himself in trying to stay current or ahead of the curve in new developments in Veterinary medicine and brags that in 40+ years as a vet he has never had a day when he did not feel excited to go to work.

He lives in Encinitas with his wife Jill and their dog Nelson. They have two adult children, Megan and Zachary, who both live locally. Dr. Lax enjoys spending time with his family, traveling and playing golf with friends.

Dr. Yolanda Kenney, DVM


Dr. Kenney is a San Diego native. She received her undergraduate degree in music from the University of San Diego. After working in the music industry for 5 years, she returned to school to pursue her dream of becoming a veterinarian. She received her doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the University of California, Davis in 2000.

While in Davis she had the unique opportunity to work with non-human primates in the veterinary hospital at The California Primate Center. She also spent time rehabilitating injured raptors at the UC Davis Raptor Center. But her first love is working with dogs and cats. Her interests include internal medicine and surgery, with a special affinity for senior patients. She joined the original Alga Pet Hospital in 2005. In her free time she still enjoys playing the cello. She lives in Carlsbad with her husband John and their two dogs.

Dr. Zachary Lax, BVetMed, MRCVS


Dr. Zachary Lax graduated from the University of Glasgow School of Veterinary Medicine in 2022 after completing an undergraduate bachelor's degree in animal science at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. As the name suggests, Dr. Zach Lax is Dr. Johnathan Lax's son, so while he is our newest veterinarian, he has been a part of the Bressi family for his entire life.

Dr. Lax took courses while in University to obtain a specialty in veterinary acupuncture and chronic pain management, which he will be incorporating in his practices. He has always had a keen interest in geriatric dogs and is excited for the opportunity to work closely with these patients, and other patients who may benefit from the treatment.

Dr. Lax has always had an interest in comedy, and during his time at the university in Scotland, would perform stand-up comedy. In his free time, he enjoys watching television, reading, going to the movies, and walking his dog, Nelson. After years of working summers as a veterinary assistant at BRPH, Dr. Lax is looking forward to joining his dad and the rest of the Bressi crew fulltime as their newest doctor.

Our Support Staff

Katie Cincotta

Practice Manager/Technician

Katie has worked with Dr. Lax since 2002. She started working as a technician and transitioned to the roll of practice manager in 2007. She earned her bachelor’s degree in liberal studies with a concentration in leadership from Fort Hayes State University. She lives in Encinitas with her husband Chris, their two sons, Jackson and Connor, their two cats, “Russell Puff” and “Toochie” and their dog “Ozzy”.

Linnaea Engelmann


Linnaea started working with Dr. Lax in 2002, she moved up north in 2007 for three years and is back working as a technician.  She lives in San Marcos with her husband Drew, their three children Alexis, Miles, and Harper, their cats “Zee” and “Koji” and their dog “Endo”. Linnaea earned her degree in animal health technology by attending Bel-Rea Institute of Animal Technology in Colorado.

Elizabeth Claussen

RVT/Client Service Representative

Elizabeth started working for Dr. Lax in 2000 and after taking a few years off to raise her children, she is back with BRPH as a client service representative.  When she is not at work she enjoys going to the beach and spending time with friends and family.  She lives with her husband Jim, their two kids Marion and William, their dogs “Maggie” and “Liza”, 3 tortoises (“Roxy”, “Little Foot” and “Koopa Troopa”), and a tank full of 25 mollies.  Elizabeth has a love for senior pets and wishes that everyone would adopt a senior pet…You won’t regret it!!!

Lauren Decker


Lauren joined Bressi Ranch Pet Hospital in 2010 after working emergency medicine for four years. She loves animals and has a special place in her heart for nervous dogs.  She lives in San Marcos with her husband Derek and two daughters, Haley and Jamie, and their dog “Strider”.

Tyra Martinez


Tyra joined Bressi Ranch in March of 2014 after working at local emergency hospitals for many years. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.  She lives in Fallbrook with her husband, and their daughter Hayven and son Hudson.  Tyra also has horses, goats, dogs, pigs, and a cat that keep her busy.

Jennie Kelley


Jennie joined Bressi Ranch in October of 2014; she came to us from Colorado.  She went to Bel-Rea Institute of Animal Technology where she earned her degree in Veterinary Technology.  She worked at a pet hospital in Colorado for four years before coming to California. Jennie lives with her daughter Berlin, three cats and a dog. She loves all animals, but has a particular affinity for cats, being a self-proclaimed “Crazy Cat Lady”.

Lisa Liners


Lisa joined the BRPH team in August of 2015, after working at different day and specialty practices in both MN and CA.  She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the team. She lives in Vista with her family along with their dogs “Coal”, “Igua”, and “Winnie”. Lisa enjoys various physical activities such as hiking, working out, stand up paddleboarding, yoga, etc. In her spare time, she enjoys teaching yoga.

Isaac Gutierrez


Isaac joined Bressi in March of 2016 after working many years in specialty, emergency, and day practices. When he is not working, he enjoys watching anime, hiking, and anything that will get him out of the house. He lives with his fiancé and their dog “Mina” and cat.

Chelsea Phillips


Chelsea joined BRPH in September of 2017 after years of working in other veterinary hospitals in California and with exotic animals. She lives with her husband and their cat “Georgia”. Chelsea leads our intern program, where she shows students a behind the scenes look into the veterinary world.



Nila joined BRPH in January of 2018. She is born and raised in Hawaii and moved to California in 2005. She went to Pima Medical Institute where she obtained her degree in Veterinary Technician Associate of Science. She previously worked 6 years in critical care before joining BRPH. She currently lives with her husband, their daughter, and two dogs “Remi” and “Lolo” in Fallbrook.

Iris Mendoza


Serina Harned

Veterinary Assistant

Jill Lax



Boarding / Veterinary Assistant

Annette Brown

Veterinary Assistant

Lyndsey Heidrich

Client Service Representative

Marion Claussen

Boarding Assistant

Alexis Engelmann

Boarding Assistant

Marisa Morrison

Client Service Representative

Grace Mullison

Boarding / Veterinary Assistant

Victoria Beck

Client Service Representative