CT Votes for Animals (CVA) is a team of dedicated volunteers which is a driving force in protecting the interests of animals in the State General Assembly. We are more than 5,000 supporters
strong who live in almost every legislative district across the state.
Connecticut Votes for Animals:
Advocates pro-animal policies;
Educates the public regarding animal protection issues;
Rallies an engaged public to support passage of animal-friendly laws and the defeat of proposals harmful to animals;
Safeguards the interests of animals by making their well-being a priority for our elected leaders.
Connecticut Votes for Animals is a not-for-profit 501(c)(4) organization.
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After a long management career in professional accounting, Henry decided to utilize his background for the benefit of the field that he is truly passionate about, which is promoting humane animal welfare programs and policies. He is the former finance director for Our Companions Animal Rescue and is also one of the original founding members of Connecticut Votes for Animals. “I’ve always wanted to do whatever I could to improve the welfare of the general animal population including domestic, wildlife and farm animals, and CVA is the perfect vehicle to help achieve meaningful progress in this area.”
Since its founding in 2008 Henry has worked with CVA on a long list of legislative initiatives which have greatly benefited the animals and he would like to continue building on this legacy and help establish Connecticut as being a progressive minded state with regard to the humane treatment of its animal population.
Henry is currently the treasurer for CVA and he also assists with “tabling” and promoting CVA at various events. Henry resides in Berlin, Ct with his wife Ruth and 5 cats.
Henry Petrofsky, Treasurer
Andrea has been active in animal welfare since 2006, when she joined Our Companions Animal Rescue during the early stages of the organization’s development. Working mainly with feline adoptions, rehoming, hoarding cases, and behavioral issues, she also served as secretary on the Board of Directors for three full terms. In 2007, she received the ING Volunteer Excellence Award and in 2016, an official citation from the General Assembly for her service to the organization.
More recently, Andrea has been active in her community, establishing a grassroots effort to end the waterfowl hunting on the Quinnipiac River in New Haven. She worked tirelessly with the local residents and politicians to build momentum on this long-term problem, resulting in the official ban of waterfowl hunting in the area. This campaign sparked her interest in politics, allowing her to combine this new-found passion with her love of animals.
Andrea is the Executive Director of the New England Resident Service Coordinators, a 501c3 organization that specializes in bringing education and training to housing professionals. She lives in East Haven with her partner and her family of rescue animals which currently include 2 cats and a White Capped Pionus parrot.
Andrea Dobras, Interim Board Chair
Karen Laski has been an animal advocate since the late sixties starting with the CT Animal Welfare League then progressing to CT Animal Rights Front and Animal Advocacy CT, the first political animal advocacy group in CT started by Julie Lewin.
Karen worked for 25 years at Manchester High School helping kids with truancy problems. A lifetime of volunteerism began with Children’s Literacy, Hartford, Manchester Committee for Peace and Justice, Manchester Shelters for the Homeless and Compassion in Entertainment, a group that educates the public about the plight of animals used for circuses and traveling shows.
Joining the Board of CT Votes for Animals in 2011, Karen’s role involves legislative planning and citizen lobbying for animal welfare bills.
Karen Laski, Director
Amy began advocating for animals as a grassroots activist. Over the past three years she has supported the fight to end the use of wild or exotic animals in the circus in Connecticut. She has also partnered with Fur Free Connecticut to support a bill to prohibit the sale of retail fur, a groundbreaking proposal for the state.
Amy is a lifelong Connecticut resident and has received all of her education in the state. She graduated from St. Joseph’s High School in Trumbull, received her undergraduate degree from Southern CT State University and her MBA from Sacred Heart University. She lives in Oxford with her husband, two children, 2 cats and 6 hens.
Amy Mallardi, Secretary
Ilene always knew that when life allowed, she would channel her energies to pursuits that improve the lives of animals; she just didn’t know it would be as a member of the CVA Board! Starting out as a volunteer in 2019, Ilene jumped right in, becoming actively involved in the organization and then joining the board.
With a unique blend of strategic communications experience and political savvy, Ilene brings a distinctive perspective to the CVA Board. In addition to serving as press secretary for political campaigns and the CT General Assembly, she developed public education and awareness campaigns across multiple industries during her tenure as a marketing communications agency executive. She was also instrumental in advocacy efforts leading to passage of CT’s law – the first in the nation – protecting women’s reproductive rights. Early in her career, Ilene covered the State Capitol as a journalist. She is still a news junkie at heart and enjoys a good public policy debate.
A life-long animal lover, Ilene lives in North Haven with her husband and two cats – both of whom were less than cooperative in posing for a photo!
Ilene Lefland, Director
Kathy has been involved in animal rights issues for the past 10 years. She originally got involved at the grass roots level fighting to close retail puppy mill stores in New York and Connecticut. She has worked with CVA for several years and was also a member of the Advisory Board.
Kathy is a CPA and has over 35 years of experience as a financial executive in publishing and media. She most recently was the CFO at New England Newspapers, Inc., and was previously at Gannett/USA Today. She spent the majority of her career at The Taunton Press in Newtown, CT after working for Simon & Schuster in NYC.
Kathy lives in Brookfield with her daughters, Emily and Jamie, and her 3 pups.
Kathy Worth, Director
Susan Biella-Linker founded Our Companions Animal Rescue, a nonprofit organization in 2002. Susan also serves as Connecticut’s representative on the Humane Society of the United States’ Companion Animal Advisory Council and is a Trustee of the John T. and Jane A. Wiederhold Foundation.
Susan is the past Vice President of Connecticut Votes for Animals and the former President of the Animal Welfare Federation of Connecticut, a partnership of no-kill animal welfare organizations. Prior to establishing Our Companions, she worked in various capacities in the field of animal welfare including an eight year career with the Connecticut Humane Society and its subsidiary, Fox Memorial Clinic. Susan also spent some time outside the animal welfare field where she pursued financial development experience with the American Red Cross fundraising team.
Susan lives with her husband Mitchell who serves as Our Companions’ Development Committee Chair, her rescued dog Darla and too many cats to mention and not sound crazy.
Susan Linker, Director
Jo-Anne Basile is CVA’s first Executive Director, a position created during CVA's 10th Anniversary year and a change that reflects the continued growth of the organization which is dedicated to bringing about laws to ensure long-term positive change for animals throughout Connecticut.
Jo-Anne was CVA's lobbyist at the State Capitol from 2014-2017 working with CVA members and legislators to successfully bring Desmond’s Law and Private Shelter Rules, among other bills, into Connecticut’s laws protecting animals. Jo-Anne comes to CVA with a strong legislative resume having served as a Legislative Aid and Director for three members of the US Congress and Vice President and lobbyist for a premier national telecommunications association in the Washington D.C. Jo-Anne and her three senior dogs live in Guilford.
Jo-Anne Basile, Executive Director
Legislative Advisor to the Board
Former State Representative Diana Urban