Press Release


Prof. Burton Fletcher, J.D., MBA (Ret.)
The Burton Fletcher Foundation for Animals, Inc. 


Nationwide 2021 Shelter/Animal Welfare Adoption Dog “Happy Holidays!”
Photo Contest!

Sponsored By The Burton Fletcher Foundation for Animals, Inc.

Valdosta, GA: Professor Burton Fletcher, the President and Director of the Burton Fletcher Foundation for Animals, Inc. announces the winners of their Nationwide 2021 Shelter/Animal Welfare Adoption Dog “Happy Holidays!” Photo Contest.

Burton stated, “We feel that our first-annual nationwide contest helps educate the public that there are a great many beautiful dogs available for adoption in our communities through our animal shelters and animal welfare organizations. We encourage people to adopt rather than shop and buy!”

Photos of the first, second, and third place winners, along with other contestants, can be viewed on the foundation’s website.  Burton acknowledged, “The rules for the contest were simple: Each photo must be original for the contest and include an adopted or rescued dog. Photos are judged 40% on creativity, 30% on theme (“Happy Holidays!”), and 30% on quality of the picture.” See for a complete list of rules. 


Photos of color entries can be viewed at: Our one black and white photo can be seen at:  


First Place

The winner in First Place, #2011, winning a prize of $500.00, was Ms. Cheri Pearson of San Mateo, California. She won for her image of a dog on a present. Her photo was clear, crisp, and met the theme. She adopted from Muttville (Senior Dog Rescue),

Second Place

Second Place, #1564, winning a prize of $350, a pup in a Santa suit, was entered by Mr. Randy Pekich of Astoria, New York. He adopted from Pupstarz Rescue,   

Third Place

Third Place, #1846, winning a prize of $150, a cocker spaniel in a Santa suit in front of a Christmas Tree, with an expression of curiosity about the photo shoot.  The winner of this entry is Ms. Meredith Elizabeth Crum of Valdosta, Georgia. She adopted her dog from the Florida Cocker Spaniel Rescue,,


Our esteemed panel of judges consists of Sementha MathewsMarley Sinclaire and Damian GreyMs. Sementha Mathews is the Executive Director for the Turner Center for the Arts in Valdosta with a seven-member staff which promotes programming that positively impacts the region with cultural enrichment, art education, and entertainment. Learn more at  

Ms. Marley Sinclaire has been in the photography business for 5 years, and recently she opened Wild Magnolia Studio where she specializes in creative portraits. Learn more at

Mr. Damian Grey is the owner of Film Story for eight years, where he provides opportunities, training, and resources to content creators, businesses, and organizations to create purposeful and solution-minded video content. Learn more at

Sementha Mathews started the City of Valdosta Photo Contest 14 years ago, which is still an active contest in our community from May through July each year. “I know full well the coordination it takes to get a contest grounded in a community, said Matthews. “This contest not only celebrates the art of photography but also the joy in pet adoption. Thanks for doing something good for this worthy cause! Great job!” 

Though not a judge, facilitating this contest was Mrs. Tara Parker, a well-known animal rescue advocate throughout South Georgia. Mrs. Parker has been volunteering for the foundation in multiple endeavors.  She is focused on a coordination of efforts between multiple rescue agencies from Maine to Florida to help assist with animal overpopulation and rescue. 

Burton pronounced, “I want to thank Ms. Mathews, Ms. Sinclaire, Mr. Grey, and Mrs. Parker for their contributions to this contest. We made an excellent team!” 

Burton Fletcher Foundation for Animals, Inc., Sponsor 

Professor Burton Fletcher (Ret.) is the founder, president, and director of the Burton Fletcher Foundation for Animals. He served in multiple academic and administrative roles on the college and university levels over a span of 27 years, rising to the rank of Full Professor of Business Administration.  He was credentialed in and taught Management, Marketing and Law courses. He is an Emeritus Attorney with the State Bar of Georgia.  Burton’s biography can be found on

The Foundation is a tax-deductible, non-profit dedicated to assisting Animal Shelters and Animal Welfare Organizations as they seek to fulfill their missions to care for injured and homeless animals in South Georgia.

Persons having questions regarding the contest may direct them to

Pets: A Chameleon Story

Pets: A Chameleon Story

by Alexandra Pauley

When you think of dogs and cats, your mind might conjure up images of fuzzy balls of lazy bones, or excited tennis ball chasers, but really, they’re chameleons. Like any good shapeshifter, they’re ready for what comes next.

Cats don’t just groom themselves and sunbathe- they’re natural pest controllers. Rodents and reptiles, beware! If they made capes for animals, cats would be top of the list on this one. Let’s not forget either, that they’re masters at cuddling. Just try being depressed with a bundle of purring fur laying across your chest.

As for our canine friends, not only are they typically “best friends” with people upon meeting, but they can be trained as Service Animals for those who are blind, disabled, or have other special needs. They’re often used in military and law enforcement organizations, and have become so important, they’re given accolades when they do something extraordinary!

Animals are also world-class therapists. They never interrupt the most important part of your story, or let you cry alone. They give of themselves completely and are always in the moment. Especially when that moment involves food. Got to love them.

It Takes A Village in Animal Welfare

It Takes A Village in Animal Welfare

It takes a village in Animal Welfare to save the lives of animals in our community, and to pull them from the streets, unprofessional breeders, and the Animal Shelter.  With the high demand for “designer hybrid dogs,” (Please Google this term!) and inadequate spaying and neutering in our community, creating an oversupply of Shelter/Rescue animals, and a weakening of demand for mixed-breed dogs, a wonderful group of people pull together to save as many of the precious darlings, dogs, puppies, cats, and kittens as we can!

My dear friend, Tara B. Parker, the previous executive director of our local Humane Society, stated on Facebook that she wanted to thank a list of people for a successful outcome for a project we worked on together.

Tara thanked the family of rescuers, fosters, adopters, transporters, givers, doers, and advocates. I would add the Animal Shelter, and county government to the list. Yes, there are many roles to play in Animal Welfare.  Many people are supportive of the Animal Welfare community!  Numerous people are unrecognized, except within our Animal Welfare community.  Many of these folks have been doing this work, selflessly, for years!

I have only met some of the many wonderful volunteers on the front lines in and around Lowndes County who are committed to Animal Welfare. There are dedicated people across the State of Georgia, and this nation, and for that matter, around the world. I would include Tara B. Parker, Jackie Shoemaker, Candas A. Bennett, Michelle Lane Dupree, to name only a few of the folks in Lowndes County, Tift County, and Echols County.  There are many others!

I have much to learn, and many people to meet and learn from on my journey to aid animals through the Burton Fletcher Foundation for Animals, Inc. ( These volunteers donate their time and financial resources to the cause of animals who count on us to speak for them, and to pull them from death row!  Please help as may be within your ability.  Fosters, adopters, transporters, sponsors, and donors are all needed. No financial contribution is too small!

Dog and Cat Adoption, Questions and Answers

Dog and Cat Adoption, Questions and Answers

Dear Burton:

A friend of mine is moving from his fenced in home, into an apartment. He has two dogs whom he loves dearly, a Doberman Pincer and a smaller breed, but he will not have room for them when he moves into the new apartment.

When asked, I advised him to communicate with the Humane Society, and other Animal Welfare organizations, to tell their story. What advice would you give someone in this situation, to help them relocate these dogs?

-Concerned Friend, Valdosta

Dear Concerned Friend,

Excellent opening advice! Tell their story, especially if their animals were rescued! While some will only care about the animals’ statistics, the backstory of how you came to be their parent may help get them adopted by the right person.

Aside from that, they’ll want to include info such as the dogs names, age, breed, whether spayed or not, heart worm status, health issues, status of other shots, such as rabies. He should offer the name of the veterinarian he uses and inform if the dogs are micro-chipped. Take good photos that are level with the dogs, rather than looking down on the dogs. Photos should be cropped to present your animal in the best light.

Since he has two dogs that have lived together, is he going to insist that both dogs be adopted by the same family? People are going to want to know how long you have owned the dogs, and how long the two dogs have been a pair. Prospective adopters will want to know how the dogs get along with other dogs, cats, and children. Do the dogs have any history of biting people? Note: If you falsely represent a dog’s character, you could be sued for damages.

Next, he should state whether he is asking for a re-homing fee, and be prepared to state, how much. Many people feel that a re-homing fee helps screen prospective adopters.  Have them agree, in writing, that you can visit the dogs and that the dogs will not be sold or turned over to an animal shelter at any time in the future but will be returned to your care instead. You don’t want your dogs euthanized!

He should have a plan regarding how he is going to screen people, so the dogs are not used as bait by a dog fighting ring. Unfortunately, there are a lot of bad people in this world. What are you going to do to screen people that want to adopt these beautiful dogs?! Are you going to perform a home inspection?  I recommend that you do a home inspection before agreeing to release the dogs. I recommend that you have anyone who wishes to adopt the dogs, sign a contract, and take a copy of their driver’s license, etc.

Take a photograph of their car tag, and car too. You should Goggle the prospective adopter, to know something about their character. Have they ever been accused of animal abuse? Do they have a criminal history? If so, what was/were the criminal offense(s)?

I recommend you follow the same procedures that are used by the Humane Society, and other Animal Welfare organizations. These organizations have had a lot of experience with animal adoptions, so draw upon their experience while re-homing your pets. Gain their assistance if possible! Lastly, trust your instincts. You innately know if the person in front of you is the right one to adopt your pet(s).

-Burton Fletcher, President, Burton Fletcher Foundation for Animals, Inc.