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Shire Haven History

The Beginning

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. ​

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Colt’s passing left a huge void in our family, especially in our beautiful Jeszie “Marie Laveau” (JJ) whom Colt had raised since she was 8 weeks old. His passing and the events that followed fueled my passion for senior “pit bulls."

So, for us and for JJ, we began to search for another pitty companion, not to replace Colt, but to help heal our broken hearts.


For months we searched, seeing post after post of “pitties” needing to be rehomed. We discovered shelters euthanizing them because of “space." My first time in an animal shelter was on June 2nd of 2018. I was sickened to see kennels full of “pits” and “pit mixes.” 


On June 26, 2018, our hearts and home were finally full when we adopted our Curtis Loew. I even rescued our 3rd family member that would have been euthanized because “he had been there too long.” So we welcomed Henry “Amos Moses” on August 30th.

The Awakening

I never knew this world existed. So after my own experience, I began to sponsor animals needing rescue, volunteering to transport for rescues, and donating whatever was needed for these precious creatures.


I 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."

But I felt compelled to do more, especially for the older ones, which are the first to be euthanized in shelters. The shelters are full of those who had been surrendered because of a new puppy or even worse, because they were so sick from neglect that they became too much of a financial burden.

The Dawn of our Organization

I never understood how someone could give up on their best friend, the one who had loved them unconditionally for years.

So, on November 20,  2019, we created this organization. And on December 23rd of 2019, exactly two years to the day of Colt passing, we received our 501(c)3 Non Profit Status. 

In January, 2023, we submitted to change the name from "The Shire Rescue and Sanctuary" to "The Shire Haven."

Shawna Bell

Shire Haven Founder & President

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