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Dr. E.J. Kennedy III, DVM - Practice Founder and Hospital Medical Director

Dr. Kennedy graduated from The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine in June, 2000. Prior to returning to school to pursue a degree in veterinary medicine, Dr. Kennedy was employed by a large, multi-national engineering conglomerate for several years working in various positions such as a Systems Engineer, Regional Technical Services Manager, and International Marketing Specialist. Dr. Kennedy was born in 1959 and was raised in a rural area on the Ohio River approximately 25 miles east of Cincinnati.  He has lived in numerous locations throughout the United States (Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Washington State, South Carolina, and Tennessee) before permanently relocating to North Carolina in 2002.  Dr. Kennedy returned to school in 1996 to pursue his dream of becoming a Veterinarian.  He eventually established Animal House Veterinary Hospital in Rutherford College, North Carolina in late November, 2009.

When he isn't working, Dr. Kennedy enjoys golf and numerous outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, skiing, canoeing, and backpacking. Less strenuous interests include reading, history, and horticulture.


Dr. Melissa Zebley, DVM

Dr. Melissa Zebley graduated from the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine in 1997. She is originally from Florida but chose North Carolina as her home shortly after graduating. Dr. Zebley worked in private and corporate practice before starting a mobile practice- Mobile Vet to Pet Veterinary Service. Her veterinary interests include canine and feline reproduction, behavior, dermatology, shelter medicine and genetics. She is also a Certified Penn HIP practitioner. 

In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and taking care of (2) cats & (2) dogs at home as well as reading and occasionally hiking the mountains of NC.


Anne Kennedy - Practice Manager

My education and background is in Fish & Wildlife Management and Forestry Management.

I love our 3 legged dog “Chase”, our cat named “Boo Radley,” and the raccoons that live in our backyard.  Hiking, camping, walking, bike riding, and reading are favorite recreational activities.

I love what we do at Animal House Veterinary Hospital and feel that we truly make a difference for our clients and their beloved pets.

Our philosophy is to practice “Modern Medicine with Kindness and Compassion". If we strive to improve just a little bit every day, then we can deliver our very best for clients, their pets, and our community.


Christine Owens – Office Manager

I came to Animal House Veterinary Hospital in the Spring of 2010 with a degree in Medical Office Administration.  I am a native of Burke County, North Carolina. When I'm not at work I enjoy time with my family, my church family, and hiking the mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee.


Traci Canipe – Medical Records Transcriptionist and Records Supervisor

I received my Associates Degree in Applied Science for Medical Office Administration in 2011 from Western Piedmont Community College. Graduating with high honors, I began working at Animal House Veterinary Hospital in September, 2014.  My position allows me to integrate my love for animals and my passion for the medical field. I’m a devoted mother to my young son and have 1 dog at home.  When I'm not working for Dr. Kennedy I stay busy taking care of my family.


Whitney Hambrick – Receptionist

Hi!  I joined the team at Animal House as a receptionist in March of 2015.  I enjoy reading, outdoor activities such as hiking and hammock camping, and spending time with my family. My husband, Jake, is a proud National Guardsman and also works full-time. We have a wonderful young son named Luke (named in honor of Luke Skywalker - thanks Jake!) We have 2 dogs- Molly and Ranger, and 3 cats- Adley, Gojira, and Yao Fei that are all completely spoiled!

It has been a wonderful experience learning about all the different animal species that come to Animal House for care. Most days my job doesn’t seem like work because of the happiness that each pet brings into my life. Who knows... maybe I can expand my horizons in the field of veterinary medicine in the future!!


Ariel Gentry – Lead Receptionist/Client Relations Specialist/Veterinary Assistant/Office Assistant

I started my career here as a receptionist with Animal House Veterinary Hospital at the very beginning when we opened for business. Since then, I have learned work as a Veterinary Assistant in all aspects involving the treatment and care of our patients. I love learning about all of the exotic animals that come here including several species of monkeys, hedgehogs, birds, reptiles, and many others. I am now learning to assist in several areas of the office and business management to help in the behind-the-scene areas of hospital operations as well.

I have an amazing husband, Colby, who works for a large locally owned company in Hickory, NC. We enjoy all types of outdoor activities including fishing, camping, and hiking. Together we have 3 dogs - Roxy, Bailey, and Scooter, as well as 3 cats - Tang, Bumble, and Barnie.

I really look forward to continuing to grow with my family at Animal House, seeing what each new day may bring, and learning just how far my enthusiasm and ambition can take me!


Rhonda Looper – Veterinary Assistant

I have been working at Animal House Veterinary Hospital since February, 2015.  I am currently pursuing a degree as a Registered Veterinary Technician with a specialization in exotics.  Animal House has provided me with a terrific hands-on learning experience in addition to my formal courses in the Veterinary Technician program.  I hope to complete my degree by August, 2018 at the latest.  After achieving my certification and licensing as a Registered Veterinary Technician, I hope to continue a long-term career with the Animal House family.

I love coming to work each day knowing it will be interesting and exciting. You never know what the day will bring, but at the end of each day we all feel that we've done our very best for every client and patient the we've served.  We don’t always win every battle, but my pride in knowing that I did my very best is what keeps me coming back refreshed and energetic every day!

My husband is a retired Army Veteran.  We have 2 teenagers and 4 dogs at home.  We spent several tours with the army overseas including a tour in The Netherlands. My husband was also deployed to Iraq and Kuwait. Our pets include a Saint Bernard, a Labrador Retriever that strangely enjoyed the climate in Alaska, a German Shepherd that recently joined our family, and a 3-legged Australian Cattle Dog that loves everything about living life and having fun every day! I think we could all learn a little something about happiness from her.


Elissa Bradford - Veterinary Assistant and Lead Groomer

Hi! I'm Elissa. I started working here as a groomer in July 2014 & started training as a veterinary assistant in January 2016. I was born and raised in Alaska and moved to Burke County, North Carolina in 2009. My disabled mother, sister Miriah, and my 15-year old son share our home with a menagerie of pets.

We raise American Pit Bull Terriers and in my free time I enjoy showing them and competing in various sporting events. I've been a dog groomer in this area for 18 years and truly enjoy the process. Dr. Kennedy has told me that I'm the best groomer he has ever seen in this business and I'm proud to have impressed him to that degree.


Sandra Barfield - Surgical Prep, Kennel/Veterinary Assistant

I started working at Animal House shortly after they opened in 2009. I have worked at various veterinary practices over the years including an emergency facility. I started out as a kennel assistant and went on to become a veterinary assistant. I have worked in the veterinary field for approximately 30 years- as you can see, I enjoy what I do!

When not working at Animal House, I take care of my elderly mother and multiple cats at home. My hobbies include reading, watching TV, and taking my mother on day trips to various locations.


Miriah Schulte - Kennel Assistant, Grooming Assistant

 Hi! My name is Miriah & I started working at here as a grooming assistant in July 2014. I am originally from Mitchell, South Dakota but moved to Burke County, North Carolina 9 years ago with my disabled mother and sister Elissa. I started training with Elissa as a groomer 3 years ago. In April, 2016 I started helping out as a kennel assistant.

In my free time, I enjoy relaxing at home with our various pets, reading, and watching movies.


Ariel Shaw - Receptionist, Kennel Assistant

I joined the team at Animal House as a receptionist in May of 2017. As a little girl, I knew that helping animals was something that I wanted to do. Working here has opened my eyes so I am now going to school at Gaston College to fulfill my dreams and hope to be accepted in to the Vet Tech program soon.

My hobbies include hanging out with friends and family, as well as playing with my Pit Bull "Moses" and Dachshund "Shelby". For recreation, I also love going to the North Carolina mountains and taking in the view with my family. Netflix is my favorite choice of television.


Ashlea Sigmon - Receptionist

Hi! My name is Ashlea. Helping people and animals has always been my passion. After graduating high school, I became a medic with the US Navy. I was honorably discharged after 2 years and started a life as an EMT and volunteer firefighter with St. Stephens Fire Department as well as working with their Animal Rescue Team. I worked as a CNA  and in-home care through Frye Regional Hospital for several years prior to joining the Animal House team in April 2018. 

I am the mother of two beautiful children-  Emily, 12, and Max, 5. Between my two-legged children and my 5 four-legged children, I stay busy taking care of them in my free time! I also enjoy outdoor activities including fishing, hunting, and camping.

I become more and more drawn to animals with each passing day at Animal House! I have absolutely loved working here so far and enjoy the welcoming family environment. I hope to continue learning and experiencing as much as I possibly can and look forward to my future here!


Brittany Gibson - Veterinary Assistant

My name is Brittany and I joined Animal House in July of 2017. Although I am originally from North Carolina, I moved to Colorado to attend college. I graduated from PIMA Medical Institute in Colorado Springs, Colorado in 2017 as a Veterinary Assistant. 

My husband and 11 year old son keep me busy during my time away from work. Together we have 2 dogs, Precious and Deuce, that my husband and I rescued several years ago.

I have had a passion to work with animals for a very long time and I really enjoy the experience that I gain each day at Animal House. Being a part of the Animal House team has helped me realize that everyone plays a very important and vital role in keeping things moving and I really enjoy the team atmosphere. I couldn't imagine doing anything else!


Amanda Green - Veterinary Assistant

I grew up in Fellsmere, Florida, which is where I began my career in the veterinary field. I started working at a veterinary hospital in Florida in 1999 and continued working there until 2007 at which point I moved to North Carolina with my family. I joined Animal House in August 2018 after working various other jobs. 

While not at work, I enjoy spending time with my boyfriend, Chris, and my kids - Bethaney, 17, Coy, 14, and step-daughter Abby, 6. I also have a Pitbull/Lab Mix puppy, Luna, that loves to play! My other hobbies include kayaking and various outdoor activities.

I always knew that I would find my way back into the veterinary field at some point and I am grateful for the opportunity to work with Dr. Kennedy and the team at Animal House. Working with exotics has always been a passion of mine and I look forward to the new experiences that await me. I am excited to see what each new day may bring at Animal House!

Exclusive Offer

New clients will receive 15% off the first exam when you mention our website.

Call us today to set up an appointment!

THIS ---->https://animalhouserutherfordcollege.com/meet-our-team.html

Office Hours

DayOpenClosed
Monday8am6pm
Tuesday8am6pm
Wednesday8am6pm
Thursday8am6pm
Friday8am6pm
Saturday8am1pm
SundayClosedClosed
Day Open Closed
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
8am 8am 8am 8am 8am 8am Closed
6pm 6pm 6pm 6pm 6pm 1pm Closed

Make-A-Wish makes wishes come true!!!

As many of you know, the Make-A-Wish foundation works to grant the wish of every child diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition. In the United States and its territories, on average, a wish is granted every 34 minutes. When we were presented with the opportunity to help the Make-A-Wish foundation grant Ms. Madison’s wish to receive a puppy, we were more than happy to help! Madison received a French bulldog puppy originally named Chubby - she later decided to change his name to Duke since she loves Duke mayonnaise. Dr. Kennedy agreed to donate the needed vaccinations, de-worming treatments, neuter surgery at the appropriate age, as well as a microchip thru Animal House. With the help of multiple vendors, we also received donations for items such as food, flea/tick prevention, heartworm prevention, shampoos, ear cleaners, and any needed diagnostics for the first year. Please keep this family in your prayers – as we all know, sickness can take a toll on any family but our hearts break for this family as they deal with the everyday expenses, emotions, and stresses that come with having a sick child. We are so glad that we were able to help & would like to send a special thanks to all of our vendors that donated towards this cause. We hope that Madison and her new friend “Duke” can have a long and happy life together!

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