By FRANK SAYLES JR.
Tifton Grapevine

Two Tifton women are among those named Animal Welfare Heroes for 2022 in a contest by a South Georgia animal foundation: Candas A. Bennett placed first, and Leah Robbins placed third.

The Burton Fletcher Foundation for Animals held the contest to recognize some of the top individuals working in animal rescue in South Georgia.

For receiving the First Place Award, Candas Bennett of Tifton is receiving a $1,250 prize benefitting Paws Furever Home Inc., a Tifton-based animal rescue organization.

“I am more than honored and can’t say thank you enough to the judges,” Bennett said. “This award comes when donations are down, dogs are dumped at alarming rates, and animal abuse/neglect is high. This award will go a long way towards our extremely high vet bill.”

For receiving the Third Place AwardLeah Robbins of Tifton gets a $500 prize benefitting Tift Animal Rescue Inc. of Tifton.

“This contest has helped me in many ways. To read the kind words and compliments from those who nominated me and the comments on social media from those who voted for me, made me realize people noticed my hard work and appreciated my dedication,” Robbins said.

Second Place went to Michelle Lynn Dupree of Statenville, receiving $750 for Echols Animal Rescue Inc. in Statenville.

The Burton Fletcher Foundation for Animals is a tax-exempt, non-profit corporation dedicated to improving the plight of abused, injured, abandoned, and feral animals in South Georgia with the purpose of finding them homes.

The foundation had 32 nominees who participated in the contest.

“We are grateful to those who nominated these wonderful individuals and recognized them for their service to the animal welfare community. We are incredibly appreciative to senior judge Linda S. Cole and judge Katie Parsh for their hours of service in screening and selecting the winners from this year’s impressive nominees,” said Burton Fletcher, founder, president, and director of the foundation.

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