Dr. Charles Castelein, a new veterinarian for Winnebago County Animal Services, holds Alejandro, a long-hair Chihuahua available for adoption, Monday, Sept. 27, 2010, at the Winnebago County Animal Services.
ROCKFORD - Dr. Charles Castelein's
patients are some of the most hard-luck cases you'll ever come across.
Not that this is anything new to Castelein
, who has spent most of his
31-year veterinary career in the public sector taking care of society's cast-aside pets.
"The goal is to get them back into shape so they can be adopted by a family," Castelein
says as he
sits in his
office, its walls still bare, the new computer still in its box.
"The larger goal is to get information to people, to engage in community education so people can understand the medical issues they might encounter with their pets and how to prevent them."
Castelein began his job as Winnebago County Animal Services' veterinarian Monday.
He comes to Rockford by way of the Milwaukee Domestic Animal Control Commission, where he served as veterinarian for the past 10 years.
Before that he served 16 years with the Wisconsin Humane Society and was in private practice before then.
grew up on a farm outside Prophetstown, near Dixon.
He graduated from Northern Illinois University and earned his veterinary degree from the University of Illinois in 1979.
coming to the county at a time when animal services is reorganizing.
still getting used to the office as he
takes a visitor through the facility.
It's hard to hear him over the barking of the dogs, and most of the techs wear earbuds to help block the sound of the animals in their cages.
But the vet is clear that he
hopes community education can be a big part of his
"There are really very few animals that have to be euthanized for medical reasons," he
"There are some that have behavior problems, but, really, most of the medical aliments we can cure."
wish list, Castelein
said, is expansion of the animal services facility so it can treat more severe problems like fixing and rehabilitating an animal that has been hit by a vehicle.
"But that type of equipment costs money, and everything has to be driven by budget," he