Extreme makeover, canine edition: Animal Hospital helps matted, abandoned Greenbackville dog

After and before the almost two pounds of hair was removed.

BY CAROL VAUGHN, Eastern Shore Post —

Eastern Shore Animal Hospital did a makeover in December for one of the dogs at the Eastern Shore Regional Animal Control facility.

“We recently did a fully sedated groom for Scuttle, a stray who was completely matted on intake,” said Melanie Parker, hospital manager at Eastern Shore Animal Hospital.

The young adult stray, found in the Greenbackville area, was so matted when he was admitted to the animal control facility that staff could not even assess whether or not he was neutered. (He was not.)

“You couldn’t even tell he was a dog,” said Sue Burdge, the Accomack County Sheriff’s officer in charge of the facility.

Pounds of matted hair

With the help of groomer Mel Chapman and a licensed veterinary technician who came in on her day off to sedate the dog, Scuttle was transformed.

Scuttle was relieved of two pounds of matted hair, going from 28.6 pounds before to 26.8 pounds after he was shaved — the “after” weight included a sweater the groomer bought for him.

“When we found out about how badly matted he was, we formed a plan with the shelter to admit him for a sedated shave-down. There was no way to save what hair he had and it would have been torture to make him sit through a groom awake with all the painful knots pulling on his skin,” according to a post on the animal hospital’s Facebook page.

“You couldn’t even tell it was the same dog,” Burdge said.

Dogs and cats available

In a happy ending, Scuttle since has been adopted, but there are many other dogs and cats waiting for homes at the animal control facility, on Beacon Road in Melfa.

The shelter “has been full to the brim for months,” Parker said.

Burdge said as of Friday, Jan. 20, there were 19 dogs at the facility, along with “some super sweet cats.”

“Our adoptions are up more than I think they have ever been,” said Burdge, who has worked in animal control since 2010 and has managed the facility since 2017.

Additionally, the facility works with rescue organizations that take some animals, but that has dropped off recently.

Still, the facility keeps getting more animals in, often filling up its 14 dog kennels and 60 cat cages.

“If we keep getting more in and they are not adopted, then we have to euthanize for space — and that is one thing we haven’t had to do in years,” Burdge said.

How to adopt

Anyone interested in adopting an animal from the facility should first fill out an adoption application and should call to set up an appointment to meet animals at the shelter.

The application is online at https://www.co.accomack.va.us/…/15486/637799339495470000 or find the link on the Accomack County website under the Forms section at https://www.co.accomack.va.us/government/constitutional-officers/sheriff/additional-links

The form can be printed, filled out, and dropped off at the shelter.

Additionally, a group called Friends of Animal Control Eastern Shore (FACES) takes donations and otherwise supports the facility.

Information can be found and donations may be made on the Friends of Animal Control Eastern Shore Facebook page. The email is [email protected].

Looking for volunteers

The facility is looking for volunteers. Interested volunteers should contact Burdge directly at 757-710-5364 to discuss volunteer opportunities. 

The facility is used by both Accomack and Northampton counties. In addition to facilitating adoption of unwanted animals, the facility’s functions include specialized care of impounded animals, coordinating information about missing animals, preparation of testing of animals with possible rabies exposure, and records maintenance.

Animal control officers’ duties include responding to complaints, investigating cruelty or abuse, educating the public on responsible pet ownership, and other animal-related issues.  

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