Valdosta Daily Times

“Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So, throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

This may very well be true regarding the many aspects of animal rescue and how we treat both the animals and the rescuers who volunteer and work hard to save the lives of precious animals.

Everyone knows we don’t do enough. When asked to “be patient,” we might say we’ve had decades of patience; now, let’s act with all deliberate speed.

Let’s have coordination between animal rescue organizations, cities and counties. Everyone has a contribution to make.

Our county is solely responsible for our animal shelter; however, this does not excuse our cities which can do a lot to help their citizens within their borders.

It is not enough to turn a blind eye and blame the problems on the county — no sir or ma’am, which is not enough. We should never abdicate our responsibility and pass the money to another government agency when our own government entity contributes to the problem.

If anyone wants to discuss these topics, contact me, and I will be more than happy to communicate with you privately. There is no need to lambaste anyone, or any entity, either publicly or privately. All government politicians and officials have many issues to address at any one time, and, unfortunately, animals have not been the focus of attention by many cities that have shifted responsibility because animals don’t vote. I ask that this change.

Cities can provide financial resources to address the needs within their borders to make it easier for their residents to have their animals spayed and neutered.

Cities can do much more to make our poor and uneducated citizens aware of free or income-based resources and facilitate the process of neutering animals.

If I had my way, the cities and county would use non-threatening, community-based measures, like community policing, to reach out and provide services in our deprived areas, that include voluntary pick up and return services of animals for spaying and neutering.

Many people in these impoverished areas have poor time-management skills, lack reliability or no transportation, exist at or near the poverty line, and other factors that justify providing them additional social net resources.

Animals would be returned up to date with shots and spayed or neutered, which would solve many problems at the animal shelter. We must think creatively if we want to reduce the “euthanasia” numbers at the shelter that saddens all of us.

If we accept the status quo, we do not need to make changes, and the killing will continue at the same pace. That is not a legacy that I would want for our city or county politicians or officials.

Government entities are encouraged to seek grants and use tax measures that address some of these and other financial issues in animal rescue.

I am not criticizing any city or county, I am just offering ideas and I have more ideas. Let’s not sweep them under the rug but review and scrutinize them, select the most viable parts or the whole, and advance animal welfare.

I love our city and county; many positive changes occur in a vibrant community. Let’s continue to create a wonderful legacy that will survive all of us. My epitaph will be, “A life that touches others goes on forever.” What will your legacy and epitaph be? I hope it will be positive.

Thank you for your time and attention. I pray that history will be kind to all of us.

Burton Fletcher is president of Burton Fletcher Foundation for Animals.

Recommended Posts

No comment yet, add your voice below!

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *