TIFTON — Burton Fletcher of Valdosta presented the Outstanding Animal Care Award to Candas Bennett of Tifton.

In acknowledgement of her efforts, unyielding work and commitment to animal welfare in South Georgia, she was nominated for this distinction in the Burton Fletcher Foundation for Animals’ Second Annual Animal Welfare Hero Contest, organizers said in a statement.

“Be the voice for the voiceless … Stand-up and work together” is the slogan Bennett shares on social media. “From experience, she has learned about the many needs of homeless animals in the area and wanted to help,” organizers said

For nine years, Bennett worked in animal rescue, assisting people in South Georgia and beyond.

“While she typically works alone, she does not hesitate to seek out assistance when necessary,” organizers said. “With the indoor air-controlled kennel that Bennett’s property is equipped with, she is able to transfer other organizations’ rescues and save a great number of unwanted animals.”

She uses social media to solicit donations as part of her marketing efforts and she has a few private sponsors but she can always use additional support, organizers said.

“I am absolutely devoted,” Bennett said. “I rescue, transport, vet, shelter, foster and rehome.”

She also provides foster care for other rescues, particularly those in Florida.

“There is no end to Ms. Bennett’s commitment to protecting animals from suffering, whether she is hauling a rescue by tiny plane, transferring animals during the night or advocating for the ban of horse racing in Georgia,” organizers said.

Bennet also partners with AnnaMarie Albaugh of Georgia Companion Animal Advocacy to update outdated community animal regulations, which involves educating policymakers about overpopulation, advocating against neglect and abuse, and educating the public about animal mistreatment.

Bennett said she works on several of the same committees as Charles DeVane, a recently honored Georgia animal champion with more than 60 years of animal welfare experience.

“When endurance (elder) meets drive (youth), like-minded enthusiasts can make a difference and produce enduring changes in the quality of animals’ lives,” she said.

Recently, Aunt CanCan (as she refers to herself) shared the award certificates received from the Burton Fletcher Foundation’s Animal Welfare Heroes Contest on social media.

There were many congratulations that followed to honor her, and one admirer said, “What a fantastic way to honor such incredible ladies in rescuing … you are God-sent for these innocent lives.”

Bennett is providing an “incredibly valuable service. We, at the Burton Fletcher Foundation are happy to bring this animal advocate to the attention of many so to help spotlight and promote her work and her deeds.”

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