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Welcome to Shelter Reform, dedicated to improving life for animals everywhere.

We are a positive, forward-looking group working smart to fix a sad but improving situation. Please join us!

New for August 2011: We've added two blogs, for Austin, Texas and Macon, Georgia (see list of shelters at left to see the two new blogs, MACONBLOG and AUSTINBLOG). These are an ideal way to dialogue with others working to reform these two cities!

Shelter Reform was initially created to help shelter animals in Macon, Georgia. We now also assist others* who desire to help their own local animal shelters become the places of compassion, hope, and life they can and should be.

How do the beasts groan! The beasts of the field cry also unto Thee!
(Joel 1:18a & 1:20a KJV)

Please read on to find out what's been happening in Macon, Georgia.

*We hope our site encourages you to confront truth, expose what's wrong, and pursue justice and change.

OVER ONE YEAR AGO in March 2009 we created this site after Kathy Selbrede had unwittingly discovered mistreatment of animals so horrific at the Macon Animal Shelter in Macon, GA the memories can still cause her to lose sleep.

OVER THE PAST YEAR, it's been a heart wrenching roller coaster ride seeing some evidences that Macon really does care about its lost and homeless animals, and time after time watching each ray of hope lead to a dead end. When the curtain is pulled back on Macon Animal Control, things have not improved since February of 2009, and have arguably grown worse. Shelter Reform stands speechless at the propaganda machine AC Pup, which was created by Patti Jones of Central Georgia C.A.R.E.S. after City Council appointed her to improve the public image of Macon Animal Control. On Central Georgia C.A.R.E.S.' new website, AC Pup states that, "I work with Central Georgia CARES to find homes for the more than 6,000 animals that come through our shelter..." This claim is insanely exaggerated by a factor of a hundred, especially considering that only animals that have been spayed/neutered are eligible for adoption. Considering that a major function of Central Georgia C.A.R.E.S. is fundraising, the claim is utterly fraudulent as stated. Over 80% of the animals taken into the Macon Animal Shelter are being killed without any hope for adoption, and most who are not killed are either returned to their owners or found dead in their pens. Adoption is the least likely way out of the Macon Animal Shelter, despite the fact that on his facebook page AC Pup often proclaims that it's a wonderful day and that many "precious babies" are being adopted. Probably the most notable discrepancy that AC Pup hides is the fact that Macon Animal Control has alienated the majority of local rescue groups, denying the animals their major lifeline out of death row (in the back holding area where pens are often overcrowded, animals are starved to reduce clean-up and hosed down inside their pens, and volunteers and the public are no longer allowed). We were hopeful that citizen volunteers at the Shelter were actually being allowed to make a difference for the animals, but the truth is that volunteers are only allowed to work with the very few animals chosen for the Adoption Ward, and they are forced out when they ask too many questions or voice too many concerns. Our initial hopes that Macon city officials might be genuinely interested in moving toward becoming a model No Kill community have been repeatedly diminished by their dedication to protecting their Status Quo.

AT THIS TIME, we are looking forward to seeing the Macon Police Department's Internal Affairs Investigation into the Macon Animal Shelter completed and justice served to perpetrators of heartbreaking animal abuse. Since its inception, Shelter Reform received many reports from witnesses of cruelty and abuse perpetrated by Macon Animal Control and Shelter staff over the years including 2009. Animals have suffered and may continue to suffer inexcusable mistreatment by the same shelter staff when no one is looking. It's a general rule that killing by lethal injection (Macon's focus last year as city officials were pressured into finally demolishing their gas chamber) can be cruel and animals can suffer horrifically, even waking up later in body bags, when they are entrusted into the hands of inhumane or irresponsible caretakers. The Macon Police Department has been painstakingly slow in making any progress toward completing their investigation.

What you can do to help animals in Macon

VISIT THE MACON ANIMAL SHELTER -- Whether or not you live in Macon, your visit to the shelter is important. Public scrutiny is a powerful crowbar to stop improprieties. Moreover, public awareness and involvement are the only way to bring about positive change.

Ask for a tour of the facility -- from Intake, to the Holding Pens (where stray animals spend their 7-day hold periods), to the Adoption Ward -- so that you can see for yourself how the animals are being treated and cared for from start to finish. We would love to receive many positive reports back from visitors to the Macon Animal Shelter! Ask the staff about their plans and goals and thank them wholeheartedly for all the good you see, keeping in mind that change often takes time. And don't forget to ask what you can do to help!

Most important of all, one of the animals you meet at the shelter just might be the perfect companion you'll want to take home with you! And you'll know you rescued that animal from an unconscionable end.

USE THE POWER OF THE PEN -- Whether or not you live in Macon, your effort in sending just one email can speak volumes, and it can take less than a minute of your time.

In politics, input from the community and its tourists drive policy. This is exactly why animals and politics do NOT mix. But it's also why YOU can help, just as those who took a moment to write about the gas chamber saw it demolished ahead of schedule.

A moment of your time can make a tremendous difference to countless animals.

SHARE YOUR STORY -- If you've seen an Animal Control officer going out of his way to treat animals well, we'd love to showcase those public employees who care. We have repeatedly mentioned one such individual at Macon Animal Control throughout this website. We want to acknowledge those who are a credit to their profession. Strong leadership should be commended and we won't hesitate to publicize the good in any community if you will only alert us to it.

On the other hand, if you've witnessed inhumane activities such as neglect or mistreatment at the Macon Animal Shelter, or any shelter in the United States, please share your story. Nobody will act on what you know until you share it.

We have spoken to many eyewitnesses of abuse in Macon who have forbidden us to post their reports on this website and/or refuse to testify to the police due to their fear of retaliation. Only a fraction of what we have collected in our voluminous notes appears on this website because of eyewitness unwillingness to let us share it, or to disclose it to the police. We disdain anonymous "drive-by" reports, so we restrict ourselves to reporting what can be properly documented. Please realize that our documented reports are only the tip of the iceberg. Like rape, animal abuse is grossly underreported. And the silence of witnesses and bystanders is what allows atrocities to continue.

We are not affiliated with, an organization of like mind that fought a parallel battle in New York several years ago and who still keeps their website active for reference and inspiration to others.

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Georgia bans gas chambers!

On April 29, 2010 the Ga Senate voted 37-8 to pass Grace's Law (HB788) with a revision to begin the ban on 12/31/10.

Click here for video of HB 788 floor debate and vote before it passed in the House on March 16 (start watching at 46m 14s).

Much work remains to be done. While Grace's Law mandates the use of EBI ("euthanasia" by injection) rather than cruel and barbaric gas chambers to kill shelter animals, by definition euthanasia can only be applied to animals which are irremediably suffering. Municipal shelters, which routinely kill healthy and treatable animals, can be reformed into No Kill shelters (which means saving the lives of 90% or more) by following the proven 11-point No Kill Equation.


Animal shelters -
a mission of compassion
gone bad, now being fixed.

Ideas have consequences. We're living with the consequences of old, bad ideas, but the good news is that things are changing!

"We've been doing it wrong, and (it's time) to start doing it right."

The bad that's being fixed by individuals like YOU:

  • 4 to 6 million animals a year are killed by animal shelters (unacceptable, but a substantial improvement from 17 to 18 million fifteen years ago).
  • Every minute 10 animals die in shelters.
  • Most shelters kill 65% to 85% of all incoming animals.

How together we are fixing it:

  • Having the will, commitment, and creativity to do the job right.
  • Challenging the myths: Killing homeless animals is NOT "a necessary evil," and the "irresponsible public" is NOT wholly to blame.
  • Talking with others about our favorite new ideas!

We can and will make a better day for our animals!