Board of Directors

Headshot of Professor Rubin.


Jessica Rubin, Board Chair

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.

Henry Petrofsky, Treasurer

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 currently the 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.


Elizabeth Abbe, Secretary

Elizabeth Abbe’s career focused on marketing and development. Prior to her retirement in 2014 she was the Director of Public Outreach at the Connecticut Historical Society. For the past 30 years she has also been heavily involved in Protectors of Animals serving in leadership capacities, hands-on rescue, and  dog placement. She also “inherited” a companion dog from a dear friend who had multiple sclerosis and passed away from the disease. “Leeta,” a black lab was so well trained that she and Elizabeth breezed through therapy dog training for Pet Partners and now they are a team who visit schools, colleges, Assisted Living Centers and people in Hospice. Elizabeth feels that her involvement in CVA rounds out her deep concern for animals. Preventing animal cruelty and reducing the homeless animal population starts with good laws.



Karen Laski

Karen has been an animal advocate since the late sixties starting with the CT Animal Welfare League followed by the CT Animal Rights Front and then Animal Advocacy CT, the first political animal advocacy group in CT. Karen worked for 25 years at Manchester High School helping kids with truancy problems. A lifetime of volunteerism began with Children’s Literacy Hartford, and continued with Manchester Committee for Peace and Justice, Manchester Shelters for the Homeless among many other local and national groups. She founded “Compassion in Entertainment”, a group that educates the public about the plight of animals used for circuses and traveling shows. Karen met the Beatles!

Joining the Board of CT Votes for Animals in 2011, Karen’s role involves legislative planning and citizen lobbying for animal welfare bills.


Susan Linker

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, Susan 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.



Jennifer Wynn

Jennifer has volunteered for Connecticut Votes for Animals since 2014, and joined the board in 2016, previously serving as President and Treasurer. She has a lifelong passion for animals, and has been involved in companion animal rescue over the last decade. Jennifer fosters dogs, has testified at the State Capitol in favor of pro-animal legislation, serves on the Host Committee of Farm Sanctuary, and supports multiple animal-related organizations.

Jennifer has previously served on non-profit boards, and has over a decade of management and analytics experience in the corporate world. She earned her Bachelor's and Master's degrees at The University of Tulsa and is a senior manager for a large Financial Services company.
Residing in Farmington, she enjoys volunteering for animal-related causes, in addition to volunteering with Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services (IRIS), yoga, spending time with her adopted canine companions, and cooking delicious plant-based meals with her husband.


Debbie Robinson


Advisory Council

  • Mark Bailey
  • Ruth Cutrone
  • Kasia Dienwebel
  • Shirley Dominguez
  • Krysia Kaminski
  • Kathleen Sullivan
  • Kathy Throckmorton
  • Marlene Wilhelm