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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Jessica Rubin is a law professor at UConn Law School and is the Director of UConn's Legal Practice program. Professor Rubin teaches Animal Law – a field in which she is a widely recognized expert. Professor Rubin was instrumental in creating Desmond’s Law, which allows Connecticut courts to appoint advocates – law students under supervision - in animal cruelty cases. She supervises students and appears in court to advocate for justice in cases of animal cruelty.
Professor Rubin teaches a course in U.S. common law analysis and writing for international students pursuing their LL.M. degrees. She enjoys teaching international students at UConn and abroad. During the summers of 2013 and 2014, Rubin traveled to Bilgi University in Istanbul, where she taught United States law and legal writing for the Open Society Foundation, and in 2016, she taught in Seoul, South Korea.
A member of the Connecticut and New York Bars and the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Professor Rubin’s main areas of legal and scholarly interest include: practical skills instruction, with a focus on business transactional lawyering; writing and research instruction; and animal law, a subject about which she organized in partnership with the Connecticut Bar Association a recent on-campus symposium entitled, “Animal Cruelty: Legal Challenges and Potential Solutions.” She is a graduate of Cornell University and Cornell Law School.
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.
Jessica Rubin, Board Chair
Henry Petrofsky, Treasurer
Since childhood Debbie has had a great love for animals and is pleased to be on the Board of Directors of Connecticut Votes for Animals, an amazing organization of compassionate, passionate and accomplished volunteers who work tirelessly for the humane treatment and legal protection of animals.
As a Board Member, Debbie is excited to be part of the coalition determined to make a difference in the welfare of animals by working with CT State legislators and the legal system in advocating for strong protection laws.
Debbie has volunteered at several animal rescue organizations and supports 26 different animal charities. She finds homeless dogs especially hard to resist and has adopted quite a few along the way with a completely full house of 7 rescue dogs, including 2 deaf, 1 blind and a 3-legged dog at one point.
Currently Debbie lives with her 3 rescue dogs and husband Jeff in Guilford where she works as a realtor at Pearce Real Estate. Debbie holds a BA in Psychology and English Literature from State University College at Brockport and studied for her masters at Western Illinois University.
Debbie Robinson, Secretary
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
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
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, 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