Aptly Named Biscuit Fund Saves Furry Lives

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Jill Deegan plays with Frost.
Jill Deegan plays with Frost.

by Beverly Amsler

Frost and Scout, eight-week-old beagle pups, were found in a Bedford County ditch in November of 2009.  Both had what turned out to be “Demodectic” mange that had gone into secondary infections.  Jill Deegan, the Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney in Botetourt County says, “It looked like somebody had set her on fire; it was that bad.”  The pups were turned over to Angels of Assisi in Roanoke where the employees nursed them back to health, including giving them daily medicated baths.

Deegan says if they had been taken to a shelter, they probably would have been euthanized rather than treated.  “We just didn’t want to see that happen because you can see with these dogs how much spirit they have once they get through what they’ve been through.”

Lisa O’Neill, spokeswoman for Angels of Assisi, says they were referred to as “the ‘Biscuits,’ cause they smelled like yeast and they smelled like biscuits.”

Deegan saw a need to do something for the animals, “so that they’re not seized (and) put to sleep because of their needs.  So we set up a fund to go towards the care of other animals that come in.”  That’s how the “Biscuit Fund” got its start.

Angels held a first-ever reunion Saturday at Blue Collar Joe’s in Daleville for those helped by the fund.  O’Neill says it was a way for dogs that have benefited from the fund to come back “and say ‘hi’ to us.”

Pumpkin, the “ancient” Pekinese, was at the reunion. She was a neglect / cruelty case from Roanoke County.  According to O’Neill, when Pumpkin came in, “she had no hair.  She was covered in disgusting mats; her eyes were completely crusted over and she couldn’t walk.  And now, she can [walk] and she has hair.”

O’Neill explains, “we (get) all the neglect-cruelty cases from Botetourt County—that’s the deal that we have with them.  They don’t go to the Roanoke Pound, so any dog that comes in that needs medical care will benefit from the Biscuit Fund.  Sometimes it’s heartworm treatment.  With Pumpkin, it wasn’t very much.  It was just a matter of medicines.  Sometimes it’s surgery; we have a dog that just had his leg removed.”

One hundred dogs and cats recently taken from a home were referred to the Biscuit Fund because they all needed medical treatment. Cheryl Jennings from Roanoke has been fostering one of the dogs, Coco, since July and is thinking about adopting her.  “She’s a great dog and she’s very loving and sweet and she gets along with our other dogs.”

Debra Saunders, the business manager at Angels was part of another success story.  She adopted Bruh Bruh, a 4-and-a-half month old Australian Shepherd and Pit bull mix.  Bruh Bruh’s mother and six puppies were relinquished by their Botetourt County owner. They all had mange and all also benefited from the fund which paid for the medicine they needed—a two month oral treatment.  Homes have since been found for each of them.

Deegan says it doesn’t matter what jurisdiction the animal comes from.  If it’s a neglect or cruelty case, it’s eligible to benefit from the Biscuit Fund.