The Burton Fletcher Foundation for Animals’ mission is to advocate for the animals in our shelters, adoption rather than the purchasing of animals, the importance of spaying and neutering animals, and for the folks who toil in the trenches daily on behalf of animals.

These folks contribute mightily, both in the Lowndes County Animal Shelter and as volunteers, without financial support or public recognition, and who are pulling animals from our shelters on behalf of animal rescue organizations and finding homes for animals at high risk of euthanasia.

Animals do not stay in our shelters long before they are either removed through adoption, pulled by animal rescue organizations, or they are euthanized to make room for a new batch of animals that enter daily.

The lack of mandatory spaying and neutering ordinances and appropriate licensing and regulation by our government officials is a significant cause for the problems of high euthanasia locally and in a great many animal shelters elsewhere.

What these Rescue Warriors do for animals is essential, and what I do for animals and the animal welfare community is also vital. There are many aspects to animal rescue, and everybody has an opportunity to contribute something to address the problems that are pervasive across Lowndes County, the state of Georgia, the United States, and beyond our borders. Lowndes County is affluent and far ahead of many surrounding counties, but that should never serve to comfort us or let us sit on our laurels.

Many people would not even cry when their animals are euthanized, preferring to dump them at our animal shelter or the veterinarian’s office and then drive away rather than be present during those last vital moments for the repellant but often necessary task of ending lives, but I do. Yes, I have cried big tears for my pet family. If you are not an animal person, you probably don’t understand those of us who are, and on multiple levels, and that is on you, not me or us.

I have donated significantly to animal shelters, animal rescue organizations, and advocacy to address the Five Compelling Priorities I identify and list on the Burton Fletcher Foundation for Animals website, I wish I could do even more. I encourage the public to donate, sponsor, foster, adopt, volunteer, and advocate for the animals that need our support.

“It takes a village” is cliché but also accurate. We have come a long way as a community since 2000, when Lowndes County killed 91% of the animals that entered our animal shelter. We have been awakened as a community, and we must never forget our sordid legacy while striving to learn from past mistakes and develop a positive future for animals. Still, we will also seek to continue improving conditions for animals, recognizing that we made severe mistakes in Lowndes County, and we can now strive to lead other counties.

With a strong commitment and dedicated effort, we can and will have a “no-kill” shelter in Lowndes County, as they do nearby in Thomas County. As with all things, where there is a will, there is a way, and it has always been this way.

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