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Fall 2023 Newsletter

Dr. James Lombella Named CVA's New 'Advocate-in-Chief'!

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Some may consider it a leap for a boy who grew up on a small family dairy farm and was later president of several Connecticut State Colleges to become president and CEO of Connecticut’s leading animal advocacy organization. For Dr. James P. Lombella (who prefers to be called Jim) it was a natural development.


Jim’s love of animals was instilled early in life and his compassion for creatures large and small endures. Together with the outstanding leadership skills acquired during an accomplished career in higher education and a warm, outgoing personality, Jim has the perfect qualities to lead CVA into the future. 


We are all eager to see the new energy and direction Jim will bring to the organization and feel fortunate to have him at the helm. For now, here is a peek at the man and his vision for CVA.

Q: What motivated you to apply for and accept this leadership position at CVA?

Jim: After 14 years in leadership roles at multiple state colleges and in public service, giving back to the community has become part of who I am. The opportunity to improve the lives of animals through legislation, advocacy, and community education allows me to embrace my love and passion for animals and continue giving back.


Q: What are some of your immediate and long-term goals for the organization?

Jim: In addition to our core work of enacting stronger legislation to protect animals, we will create an affiliated nonprofit entity dedicated to educational initiatives: The CT Votes for Animal Education Fund. My plan is to create partnerships and community action projects to support our shelters and rescue facilities, offer legislative internship opportunities for students and educational opportunities for residents to learn and get involved. My vision is to develop state-wide community education and action programs that protect our animals and make CT one of the most compassionate states for animals to live in and call home.


Q: How do you plan to apply your broad executive experience in higher education to CVA’s mission of better protecting CT’s animals?

Jim: Through education and advocacy. As a college president, I came to understand the power of legislative advocacy by working with amazing students, faculty, and staff to support underrepresented groups and secure funding for education, transportation, housing and food, childcare, federal Pell grants, scholarships, and more. I will personally champion the work of the CT Votes for Animal Education Fund and empower state residents to seek legislative changes that improve protections for our companion animals, farm animals, and wildlife. Together we can make a difference!


Q: Describe your experience working or volunteering with animals.

Jim: I have worked with several rescue organizations and sponsored and supported student community action projects to raise funds and supplies for local animal shelters and expand food pantries to include pet food and supplies. In high school, I was a dog groomer and later owned a pet supply store and dog grooming facility, partnering with local shelters to hold adoption days and provided education on animal nutrition, grooming, training, and more. Additionally, I have always been a voice against puppy mills and selling dogs and cats in pet shops.


My own family reflects my work with rescues; it now includes three rescue cats and my newest rescue puppy, Khali who stole my heart as a foster and found her forever home.


Q: What do you see as the primary animal welfare concerns needing to be addressed in CT?

Jim: Animal advocates had some great wins last session, but we have much more work to do. Several items may resurface, and we’ll be keeping a close eye on these issues as well as pushing our own legislation for animals. See stories below for details how your lawmaker voted on animal bills in 2023 and what issues are likely to return next year.  

Get Your 'Advocacy Chops' Ready for Next Session

1. See How Your Lawmakers Voted on Animal Issues Last Session


CVA's firs annual Legislative Scorecard provides a comprehensive view of how our state senators and representatives voted on all animal issues raised during the 2023 session. If you have not yet done so, take a look at how your elected officials voted and let them know your position on these critical issues.  We're expecting to see many of them back next year!  (Read following story.)

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2. Learn Which Animal Issues Are Likely to Be Raised

    Next Session


CVA’s army of animal advocates will be back in force in 2024 to support those issues and bills that were defeated or not heard – and oppose those that harm animals – during the 2023 session. The proposals include:

  • defeating proposals for a bear hunt in CT and providing education on how to coexist peacefully with bears;

  • expanding Desmond’s Law to allow legal advocates animals other than cats and dogs in animal cruelty cases;

  • closing the existing loophole to permanently ban greyhound racing in CT;

  • banning circuses and traveling animal shows featuring wild or exotic animals,

  • enacting stronger legislation against the use of second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides that end up killing birds of prey, and;

  • discriminating against certain breeds of dogs in awarding homeowners’ insurance.

Visit the CVA website for more details and CVA public hearing testimony on these bills and more.

Asparagus With Pomegranate Seeds, Tahini, and Pistachios

The holidays are hectic enough without having to stress about last-minute dinner guests. Keep it simple by having some ingredients – like roasted nuts, tahini, chickpeas for hummus or roasting, and fresh veggies for easy sides, snacks, and mains. Here’s a quick vegan holiday dish festive enough for company!


We'd love to share your favorite vegan recipes. Send them to

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