About The Shire

Our Start

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On December 23rd of 2017, my husband said good-bye to his best friend of 16+ years. I said good-bye to the sweetest soul that taught me to love and understand the breed. Colton (Colt) Bell passed just 3 months shy of his 17th Birthday. ​


His passing and the events that followed fueled my passion for Senior “pit bulls” and started me on my path to opening The Shire Rescue & Sanctuary, Inc.


Colton’s passing left a huge void in our family, especially in our beautiful Jeszie “Marie Laveau” (JJ) whom he had raised since she was 8 weeks old. We began to search for another--not to take his place, but to help heal our broken hearts.


For months we searched: looking at post after post of “pitties” needing to be rehomed and visiting shelters euthanizing them because of “space. My first time in an animal shelter was on June 2nd of 2018. It was sickening to see kennels full of “pits” and “pit mixes.” It would also be the first of many failed “meet and greets” for JJ.


I never knew this world existed.


So I began sponsoring animals needing rescue, transporting  rescues, and volunteered anywhere or anyhow I could. I became a member and the treasurer of an advocacy group, Stop Pound Seizure, that was instrumental in exposing a local animal shelter and a university that was practicing “Pound Seizure.

Then, on June 26th, our heart and home were finally full when we adopted our Curtis Loew. I continued to volunteer, transport, and advocate. I even rescued our 3rd family member that would have been euthanized because “he had been there too long.” We welcomed Henry “Amos Moses” on August 30th of 2018.


It still wasn’t enough. I felt the need to do more for my breed, especially the older ones. They were also the first to be euthanized in shelters. So many are surrendered because the owners got a new puppy--or even worse, they were so sick from neglect.

On November 20th of 2019, we created this organization. And on December 23rd of 2019, exactly two years to the day of Colton’s passing, we received our 501c3 Non Profit Status.

Shawna Bell