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Our Staff

Dr. Richard Brinegar

A native of Elkin, Dr. Richard Brinegar returned to his home town to build a practice that expresses his love of animals and his passion for veterinary care.

Dr. Richard Brinegar earned his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from North Carolina State University. He has practiced in Winston-Salem and Mount Airy before returning to his native town of Elkin.

He and his wife Ava have three sons – Joshua, Daniel and Paul.

Dr. Brinegar is a member of the Association of Avian Veterinarians and the American and North Carolina Veterinary Medical Associations.

Dr. Brinegar serves his community in several capacities, including as a member of the Elkin City School Board of Education.

Dr. Greg Dugan

Dr. David Ackerman

Dr. Ackerman has been practicing veterinary medicine for over 30  years. He earned his doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from VMRCVM at Virginia Tech. He owned a veterinary hospital and practiced in Western North Carolina, until moving to the town of Elkin with his wife, Alison in 2016. Dr. Ackerman is currently the laboratory director of the Northwestern Animal Disease Diagnostic Lab for the North Carolina Department of Agriculture in Elkin.  Dr. Ackerman’s love of animals compels him to continue to work in practice with Dr. Brinegar at the Animal Ark.  He and his wife have two grown children, Rob and Chris, living in Charlotte and Raleigh respectively.  Prior to moving to Elkin,
Dr. Ackerman was on the Cherokee County NC School Board, a sheep farmer, beekeeper, owner of Andrews Veterinary Hospital and North Georgia Animal Emergency Hospital. Dr. Ackerman and his wife, Alison, currently reside
in Elkin and are members of the Elkin First United Methodist Church. They are beekeepers who also enjoy their pets, hiking, kayaking, and visiting with their children.

Cheri Marks

Cheri has an Associate’s degree in Business from Pensacola Junior College. She has worked since October 1987 in the field of emergency veterinary medicine and has worked with Dr. Brinegar since February 2003. Cheri enjoys reading, swimming, and spending time with her family and five pets – Missy, Cadbury, Theo, JJ, and Sydney.

Katie Parsons

Katie joined Animal Ark in the fall of 2019.  She has over 10 years experience in the veterinary field as a technician.  She graduated from Wilkes Community College. When not at work, Katie enjoys spending time with her friends and family. She also enjoys hiking with her dogs Ava and Mercy. Katie also does volunteer work with the Humane Society of Wilkes.

Chelsea Potts

Chelsea joined the Animal Ark Staff in September 2018. She is an active member of the “Shield of Faith” church and enjoys her time spent with her church family.  She also cooks, plays piano, and spends time with her husband and their three pets, Roxie, Kenzie, and Calvin.

Danielle Ragan

Danielle has been with the Animal Ark since June 2019. She is a Boone native and has been an artist since childhood. Danielle spends her free time reading, painting, and caring for animals, including her own pets, 2 shih tzus, a puggle, and 2 cats.

Aaliyah Ganzzermiller

Aaliyah has been a staff member since November 2018. She is currently a senior at Elkin High School and participates in a number of school events, ranging from the varsity cheer squad to the Junior ROTC program where she is the LTC Battalion Commander. Outside of school and work, Aaliyah enjoys spending time with friends and family.

Isaac Powell

Isaac came on board in December 2014. He currently attends NC State University, pursuing a degree in Textile Engineering. At NC State, he is on the Sailing Club race team and takes part in service projects around campus. In his spare time, he likes to play sports, spend time with friends and family, and play with his dog, Sadie.

Shelby Powell

Shelby joined the Animal Ark in May 2013.  He spends his time writing, both creatively and freelancing for the Elkin Tribune. Shelby enjoys his time with his family and dog, Sadie.

Joshua Brinegar

Josh Brinegar has been working part-time at the Animal Ark since 2014 while attending the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and currently as a student at Surry Community College. While not working or attending classes, Josh enjoys time with his friends, family, and his special cat, King David.

The Brinegar Family

Left to right: Dr. Richard Brinegar with Rhett (scarlet macaw), Ava Brinegar, Joshua Brinegar with King David (siamese cat), Daniel Brinegar with Ollie (chinchilla) & Paul Brinegar with Daisy (Boston Terrier)