Welcome to the Friends of Madera Animal Shelter's website.

Friends of Madera Animal Shelter is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, run by dedicated volunteers working tirelessly to support the education of responsible pet ownership. Through donations, we spay and neuter pets in our community, reducing the number of animals being euthanized. We are sworn to saving animals in crisis, working with our rescue partners, finding qualified and loving forever homes through our adoption events

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About Us...

We are a nonprofit, independent, animal welfare organization dedicated to improving animal health and welfare in Madera County.


  • Support the practice of humane attitudes
  • Promote the altering of pets
  • Work toward improving the general well being of animals through community education and outreach.

Our organization supports Madera County residents. We lessen the county's financial burden associated with animal over-population. Our resources, although limited, help support Animal Services activities and programs beyond those that can be afforded by the county. 

  • We help make low cost spaying and neutering programs available to the community. These important procedures are the only proven method for successfully reducing the suffering and expense of animal over population. They also serve animals and pet owners directly by minimizing health problems and providing behavioral benefits. 
  • We assist Madera County Animal Services toward its goal of eventually becoming a no kill shelter through the altering of pets and adoption of companion animals into caring homes. 
  • We provide educational and outreach programs to promote the compassionate treatment of animals. 

Woman facing animal cruelty charges


September 14, 2016

DJ Becker


More than 25 dogs have been seized by Madera County Animal Control, after nearby residents reported the animals starving and suffering in cages in the backyard of a residence in the16000 block of Camden Drive. Melanie L. Sanchez Chamberlain, 36, is now potentially facing felony charges of animal cruelty, according to Animal Services Director Kirsten Gross. Sanchez Chamberlain also goes by the name of Melanie Chamberlain online to fund raise and possibly to conceal her multiple local arrest records, according to authorities.“These animals were found in horrendous condition,” Gross said. “This is animal cruelty at it’s worst. Emaciated — with backbones and hip bones showing. One small dog had an old untreated leg fracture with a dangling leg and large open wound. They were all standing in filthy, small, 2 x 3 foot crates, in their own feces, out in the sun and 100 degree temperatures. Others were found under makeshift tarps, some without food or water,” Gross said.About half the dogs were in such poor condition they were immediately taken to a local veterinarian for examination and care. Gross estimated it took months of inadequate food and care for the dogs to become so emaciated.The dogs squeaked, clawed at their cages and eagerly greeted the animal control officers as they were removed from their confinement.  Sanchez Chamberlain had been contacted by Animal Control on previous occasions, Gross said, and had recently been found with most of the same dogs in poor conditions while living at an abandoned house in the 18000 block of El Paso. “What’s worse,” Gross said, “is Sanchez Chamberlain was reportedly operating on Facebook and raising money on other sites with her ‘Love Me, Don’t Leave Me’ rescue, allegedly a non profit, no-kill animal rescue group and collecting money — while these dogs were suffering and being tormented probably for months and months, in these awful conditions.” About 15 adult and young pitbull mixes were found and the rest were small and medium terrier mixes.  A litter of puppies was found hidden in the debris of a shed at the abandoned house.  Sanchez Chamberlain may have been collecting strays or unwanted dogs from the public, all the while apparently homeless herself. Local police records show four previous arrests for Sanchez Chamberlain for narcotics, burglary and one for child endangerment. Gross said the public should be very cautious about who they give animals to and should not believe everything they see online about animal rescue groups. Sanchez Chamberlain’s Facebook rescue page had happy photos of healthy animals playing on green grassy lawns, and a fake state EIN, a number that is required to operate a non profit group in California, according to Gross. “Please donate only to local rescue groups you know, or can verify. Without proper resources for care and the facilities all these pseudo rescues are doing is collecting (animals) and putting them in worse situations than where they came from. Some of these people initially mean well, but quickly become overwhelmed. It’s also symptom of hoarding.” she said.Gross said it appeared most of the dogs would survive, but the majority had months of recovery ahead of them. “The dogs will be held here and then some sent to our legitimate rescue partners who are willing to invest their time, effort and money assisting in their recovery, vet care and their eventual placements,” Gross said. Gross encouraged the public to promptly report any animals they might see in poor conditions. “Please report abuse, neglect or cruelty when you see it ... the animals are counting on you.” Donations to help with the dogs’ veterinary care, recovery and transport can be sent to The Friends of Madera Animal Shelter volunteer group at PO Box 923, Madera CA 93639.



The shelter is currently over loaded with very nice pitties and large dogs and regular rescue efforts will not be able to keep up.

Out of the blue, Oregon Humane Society came to the RESCUE!!! Over and above their regular weekly pick ups, OHS offered to take a van full of these large dogs. We just need to get them there.


FMAS will provide the van, the fuel and one night's lodging. All that's needed to save a truck load of dog lives is a driver, or two, with clean DMV records.

Trip can either be tomorrow (Thursday) or Sunday the 19th.

So if you love animals and like to drive, please think about fitting this trip into your busy lives. Or maybe you know a friend who might?

Pictures are just a few of the fabulous dogs who will be saved!

And, if you can't help this time, drivers are needed for our regularly scheduled once a month trip to OHS. Typically it is the first Sunday of the month.

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Upcoming Events

Contact FMAS

We can be reached at:

or via P.O. Box 923
Madera, CA  93639

Shelter Adoption Hours

Monday 10:00 - 4:00
Tuesday 10:00 - 4:00
Wednesday 10:00 - 4:00
Thursday 10:00 - 4:00
Friday 10:00 - 4:00
Saturday 10:00 - 02:00

Make him Family...

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...Save a life!

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