About The Animal Haven

Our Mission

The Animal Haven is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization whose mission since 1948 has been to provide humane refuge for homeless, abandoned, or surrendered cats and dogs, while we strive to find them loving, permanent homes.

What We Do


The Animal Haven is a private, not-for-profit animal shelter that has been providing refuge to homeless cats and dogs since 1948. The Animal Haven was established as a no-kill shelter, which it continues to be to this day. This means that we will not euthanize an animal, except when it is in the best interest of a sick or dying animal. The shelter is located in a beautiful, wooded area on a seven-acre parcel of land located in North Haven, CT.

We take in homeless, abandoned and surrendered cats and dogs from the Greater New Haven area and beyond. We also take in animals from municipal shelters if they are at risk of being euthanized. All animals that enter The Animal Haven receive physical examinations and health assessments and are vaccinated against disease. Ongoing problems are monitored and addressed. We have a mandatory spay-neuter policy for all animals to assist in reducing the unwanted dog and cat population.

The Animal Haven's first priority (in addition to taking in homeless animals) is to find them loving, permanent homes. The staff members at The Animal Haven spend time with each animal to understand his or her personality and needs. This helps us to find a home that best suits each animal and to recommend a dog or cat that is the best fit for each person or family. We never give up on an animal. If a cat or dog is not adoptable for any reason, he or she will live with us at the shelter for the rest of his or her life.

Our Facilities

We provide comfortable spaces for the animals to live. The cats live in a cage-free environment with places to lounge, perch high up, or hide, as cats need. The dogs live in roomy, brightly lit kennels with outside runs that they can access throughout the day. They are walked daily on our seven-acre property and can exercise and play in our two outdoor pens.

The shelter has a state-of-the-art HVAC system that reduces the spread of virus and disease, a medical examination room, and separate isolation rooms for any animals that are sick. We also have a backup generator to ensure that we are fully functional any time there is a power outage.

Click Here for a Photo Gallery of the Shelter

How We Do What We Do

The Animal Haven employs two full-time employees (the shelter manager and the assistant shelter manager) and six part-time employees, who provide daily care to each animal and handle all aspects of intake and adoptions. The staff is trained, professional, and knowledgeable and has compassion and love for companion animals.

We do not receive funding from municipal or other government sources. All funding comes from private donations, adoption and surrender fees, grants, and fundraising events. The Animal Haven's excellent reputation as a humane shelter is reflected in the continued generous financial support that it receives from the community.

The Animal Haven Board Members


Maria Carofano

Maria Carofano is a lifelong resident of North Haven.  She has served as President of the North Haven Rotary Club and on the board of Connecticut Trails Council of Girl Scouts.  For many years, she was a commercial banker at a local bank, and she is currently employed as the office manager for a technology company.  She currently serves on the board of The Animal Haven in the capacity of Vice President.  Her most wonderful cat Tessa was adopted from the shelter.


Arnold Cary, DVM

Dr. Cary (Arnie) is a retired veterinarian who owned the Bethany Veterinary Hospital. He started the practice doing “All Creatures Great and Small”- a mixed animal practice. Eventually he specialized, doing mainly small animal medicine and surgery. At one time he and his family owned a number of horses and ponies, a pygmy goat named “Sherman,” and many dogs.  He and his wife now reside with two rescue cats, Mia and Jimmy. Arnie’s other interests include sculling (rowing) and fundraising and volunteering for Habitat for Humanity.


Linda Marino

Linda Marino is a retired lawyer, who was a partner at the law firm Flemming Zulack Williamson Zauderer LLC in Manhattan and an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. After retiring from the practice of law, Linda moved to Connecticut. Having always had a love for animals, she decided to focus her energies on helping vulnerable animals in need, which led her to volunteer and become a board member and then President of The Animal Haven. Linda enjoys playing tennis, spending time with family and friends, and taking long walks with her dog Scout (an Animal Haven alumnus).

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Roberta Friedman

Rob Friedman is a retired public health professional, whose career focused on a variety of issues, including sexual assault prevention, health and sexuality education, healthy eating, and obesity prevention.  Her last job was as the Policy Director for the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity.  She lives in Hamden with her husband, and is a craftsperson who enjoys sewing, knitting, rug hooking, and making miniatures.  She also loves puzzles (jigsaw and crossword), but jigsaws are out now because her cats, Charlie and Toby (Animal Haven rescues), would have a field day with them. 


Jeff O'Donnell

Jeff O’Donnell is a retired CPA who has been volunteering with The Animal Haven for 23 years and has been doing TNR (Trap, Neuter, Return) work with feral cats for 20 years.  He lives with four cats and a dog.