Share Your Story: The Burton Fletcher Foundation for Animals, Inc.

Burton Fletcher, an emeritus attorney with the State Bar of Georgia and a retired full professor of business administration, had successful legal and academic careers in California and Georgia before his retirement. In September 2021, he formed the nonprofit Burton Fletcher Foundation for Animals, Inc.

Burton founded the animal rescue organization not only to bring attention to the plight of unwanted animals but to save and find homes for as many as possible. Other goals are to promote the importance of spaying and neutering animals and to support other nonprofit rescue groups.

Burton is no stranger to the hard work required to rescue and care for animals. He grew up on a farm in McAlpin, Florida, surrounded by chickens, cats, dogs, and horses. His childhood years on the farm instilled a lifelong love of animals. Once he retired, he refocused his energy and attention on his concern for animals.
Why start a foundation for animals? When he settled in South Georgia, Burton quickly saw the needs of the local animal welfare community. Shelters were overwhelmed by far too many homeless, abandoned, and unwanted animals, with unacceptable, heartbreaking euthanasia rates.

Over the years, Burton had donated to animal rescue organizations and adopted animals from a local shelter. This time his idea to help became full-time labor of love that has had a real impact on fostering, adoption, community awareness, and euthanasia rates. His foundation has helped save the lives of countless innocent animals and made South Georgia residents more aware of local animal welfare issues and how they can help.

Burton is dedicated to community education and publicity regarding homeless, abandoned, abused, and unwanted animals and the need to stop the cycle of endless litters of unwanted puppies and kittens. Unaware, poor, or irresponsible pet owners continue the tragedy of animal overpopulation by not spaying and neutering their animals or abandoning unaltered pets. Though more animal shelters are needed, the solution requires more than more shelters. The answer is fewer unwanted animals.

The public may be unaware that animal welfare rescuers and workers make constant sacrifices. The most formidable challenge they face is funding animal rescue. They routinely donate their own time, energy, and money to save, care for or provide veterinarian services for unwanted animals.

These unsung heroes, quietly saving the lives of countless homeless, innocent animals and helping the community, receive little in return. Burton Fletcher is changing that by finding and recognizing these animal welfare heroes. Burton’s foundation hosts annual contests to acknowledge and thank animal rescue workers, fosters, adopters, and volunteers in South Georgia, who give so much.

Burton and the Burton Fletcher Foundation work to create synergy between animal rescue organizations, the business community, and citizens for the benefit of all. When residents realize that they need help with their pets or stray animals, they can contact the foundation or other nonprofit animal rescue organizations for advice and assistance.

Like many communities, South Georgia has several independent animal rescue organizations spread across multiple counties. Burton Fletcher’s goal is for the foundation to work cooperatively with these organizations to strengthen their shared network and resources. Together, they can respond more effectively to animal welfare issues, save South Georgia’s homeless animals, and reduce high euthanasia rates.

The foundation publicizes animal welfare issues and promotes nonprofit animal rescue organizations, adopters, fosters, volunteers, and supporters by sponsoring South Georgia and national competitions. Contests include the successful Happy Holidays! Animal Rescue Photo Contest in 2021 and the Animal Welfare Heroes 2022 contest.

The Animal Welfare Heroes Contest winners were awarded checks for their nonprofit organizations. The biographies of the animal rescue contestants are listed on the foundation website for added community recognition and publicity. The foundation has a new contest in June 2022 called, The Patriotic Rescue Pets Photo Contest.
Fletcher believes that animal rescue organizations should not hide their light under a bushel basket. Numerous events are one way to remind the public to adopt and save the life of a homeless animal rather than shop for a pet.

These newsworthy community animal welfare events also help spread the importance of animal rescue to local business owners, who can help sponsor future contests. Such events may also prompt the city and county governments to increase their funding for animal rescue, which benefits the entire community.

Plans are for the foundation to expand its contests and animal welfare publicity and seek more opportunities to network locally, regionally, and nationally with nonprofit animal welfare organizations. The goal is to increase the live outcome rates for all the animals in animal shelters to 95% by 2025.

Too ambitious? Not for Burton. The foundation’s inspirational slogan perfectly sums up its purpose and the dedication of the man who chooses to use his voice to speak for and work to save those animals most in need.

The Burton Fletcher Foundation for Animals, Inc.

“We are a little charity, doing big things
with great heart!” TM

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