About Us - HappyPaws Haven

HappyPaws Haven website is a web based resource for rescue groups and members of the public needing assistance in the re-homing of their animals.

This site allows these groups and individuals to advertise - for free - animals in their care along with photos and descriptions. Our policy includes the desexing of all animals before they go to their new homes.

If you are a member of the public wishing to find a home for your pet, proof of desexing must be provided before we can assist you with advertising of your pet on this site.

Happy Paws Haven website acts as an advertising resource only and accepts no responsibility for any issues which may arise in the purchase or adoption of any animal listed on this site. When a domestic animal is re-homed it is the responsibility of the organisation or individual re-homing the animal to ensure all details on the microchip are updated with the new owner's details. For more information on microchipping and what your responsibilities are please visit the Pet Registry website.

HappyPaws Haven is an incorporated and endorsed animal welfare charity providing services in the Clarence Valley & Coffs Harbour Regions and through out Australia. HappyPaws Haven in Grafton was founded by Sally Rogers in July 2006, and has grown to include a number of local volunteers who dedicate their time to clean, care and re-home local cats and dogs who have been lost, abandoned or mistreated. We foster a small number of dogs at a time thus are able to spend the time required to find the correct home for a dog. We only foster a new dog when a fostered dog gets a home. Veterinary Services are provided by the Riverbank Animal Hospital. Volunteers are covered by public liability insurance and volunteer activities are an option for people on New Start, Work for the Dole, other Centrelink Programs and community services programs. The charity is run based on the model rules for associations supplied by the NSW Office of Fair Trading.



We are a no-kill organisation committed to caring for every animal we rescue. To achieve this we rely on the hard work of volunteers and donations from the community.


Unfortunately we lack the resources to assist every animal and we are forced to make the heartbreaking decision of only fostering as many as we have space and funds for. In order to focus on those who need help most. HappyPaws Haven is a No-Kill organisation, meaning that every animal we rescue we commit to until a suitable and permanent home can be found for them.This is why we focus on a small number of fostered dogs at a time.

At our Animal Re-homing Centre/Shelter we do not impound these wonderful creatures in an antiseptic, caged atmosphere, like that found in typical animal shelters. The dogs and cats are kept in a natural setting. The dogs have the opportunity to roam in grassy paddocks with oversight and control by our volunteers. Our cats live in a community environment within a large open cattery. When an animal arrives injured or sick they are quarantined and nurtured by caring human hands back to health. Dogs and cats are kept separated from the main population until an emotional, behavioural and psychological assessment can be made, then if all is well; they are slowly integrated into a small pack or cattery.

We believe that rescuing an animal does not only mean intervening in their immediate situation, but involves a high level of responsibility and commitment. There are long term consequences, including providing them with a safe, secure environment, vet treatment and having the capacity to rehome them. HappyPaws Haven embraces these responsibilities and works hard to ensure the decisions we make, and our actions are always in the best interest of the animal.

HappyPaws Haven is dedicated to promoting the well being of animals through education by example. We believe strongly that an end to animal homelessness and neglect can be achieved by making compassionate, thoughtful decisions and accepting responsibility to the animals in our care and to work within community at large helping people as they help us.


In July 2006, Sally Rogers determined that an animal rescue and re-homing shelter was needed for the local pets that were in distress through mistreatment, abandonment and poor health as there was no domestic dog shelter or animal rescue association in the Clarence Valley at that time. Having rescued and cared such animals in Sydney, Sally began by housing cats in a purpose built shelter she personally built and funded for her own pets. Over the next 12 months Sally successfully found homes for over 50 animals. From this came the decision to form a recognised animal welfare group in Grafton, and in April 2007 HappyPaws Haven was incorporated. In October 2008, a decision was made to locate a suitable property on the edge of town and to built a purpose designed shelter to house the HappyPaws Haven dogs/puppies and cats/kittens as well as the animals owned by the live in volunteer manager. In May 2009, HappyPaws Haven moved into its new home at Eatonsville 12kms south west of Grafton, just off the Gwydir Highway.

 Since July 2006 over 1200 animals have been rescued and cared for by the volunteer carers in the area and at the shelter. Nearly 800 animals have found permanent loving homes both locally and interstate.

 This has saved the Clarence Valley council an enormous amount of money. If you consider what the impact of realising 1200 unde-sexed cats and dogs into the environment what damage they would do! How many additional cats and dogs they would procreate? The cost to the Clarence Valley Council to capture and euthanaise these animals and their progeny in regard to time of the rangers and money!

The on-going benefits of animal companions for caring families are many, and are proven by the continued re-homing of animals by HappyPaws Haven, its volunteers and foster carers. HappyPaws Haven promotes responsible pet ownership and achieves positive outcomes for animals, animal ethics, and new pet owners. It sets an example for the community and government. It allows students, volunteers and community workers to continue their valuable service.

The number of stray, feral or abandoned cats and dogs is caused, in many cases, by unmanaged breeding. HappyPaws Haven seeks to reduce this excess, whilst helping to manage it. This is ultimately an uneconomical exercise, though extremely essential to the community, the environment and the animals.

 The de-sexing of companion animals reduces the number of stray, feral or abandoned animals, by ensuring that fewer unwanted kittens and puppies are produced. This means that the economic and environmental impacts by feral animals to the Clarence Valley region, and other regions, are reduced.

 The economical and environmental benefits of cat & dog desexing are significant to the whole community. There are also significant benefits to the health of animals, addressing illness, quality of life and behavioural issues.

What we do

The purpose of HappyPaws Haven is to provide short term care to cats and dogs that have been lost, abandoned or mistreated. Permanent homes are found for rehabilitated animals.

 The animals which arrive at HappyPaws Haven are fed, cleaned, treated for fleas and worms if necessary, and given a place of shelter. Initially, the animals are housed separately, either at a carer or at Riverbank Animal Hospital. At this time, the animals are vet checked to determine the health of the animal, and provided with any treatment required.

 If a positive identification can be made through the presence of a micro-chip, owners are notified as to the whereabouts of the animal and inviting them to come and collect it thus determining whether the animal is lost, abandoned or surrendered. Animals which have not been surrendered are reported to the pound so that the correct process to try to locate the owner can be initiated.All vets in the area are also notified, as is the local radio station 2GF.

Following assessment of the animal’s health and behaviour the animal is integrated with similar type animals placed in temporary care at the home of a volunteer.

 Any ongoing health problems are monitored and treated by the Riverbank Animal Hospital. All adult dogs are assessed by Carole Bryant, a local professional behavioural dog trainer, and rehabilitation and training plans are implemented according to the professional advice given. All animals are cared for in a clean sheltered environment, until homes are found for them, at the residence of a volunteer carer or at the shelter. Cats and dogs are immunised, micro-chipped and de-sexed as necessary prior to being taken to the carer.

During their time at a carer’s residence or at the shelter, cats are housed in a purpose built facility which has been fitted out for comfort and safety. Separate areas are provided to provide both quiet time and play areas. A specially designed area enables cats and kittens to have access to the outside while still being safely enclosed. These areas, including floors, food and litter containers are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected daily. These facilities are inspected by the RSPCA regularly to ensure that they meet the requirements for the housing and caring of animals.

 Happy Paws Haven also takes in a limited number of dogs. Cabin style kennels are provided at the shelter for some, but most dogs are cared for at volunteer carer’s homes in the Clarence Valley. All animals are fed quality foods while in care, receive training and veterinary care when required.

 HappyPaws Haven is fussy about who adopts these animals and where they are housed and cared for. The adoption criteria is documented as a questionnaire and strictly adhered to.

Our records

All animals and their details are recorded in a Microsoft Excel Workbook and are updated as changes occur.

 Micro-chipped animals have their details recorded on the official micro-chip database. Information on our activities is published through the local media, the HappyPaws Websites, community notice boards, and veterinary clinics.

 A dedicated website www.happypawsgrafton.com.au is used to find suitable homes for rescued animals and those de-sexed animals belonging to the general public and other rescue organisations. Descriptions and photographs of individual animals are published to enable suitable homes to be matched to the animals needs. This site has enabled us to relocate animals into homes both locally and as far a-field as Launceston, Esperance in WA, Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Adelaide, Brisbane, Toowoomba, Gympie, Bendigo, Cairns, Alice Springs to mention just a few.

A register of potential new owners is maintained and people wanting pets are interviewed, during which their suitability as a pet owner is matched against their ability to provide a safe and comfortable home for their pet. Vet references are checked, and where possible the accommodation for the pet is inspected. This strict adoption criterion is adhered to in all cases and is well documented.

 Animal Education

As manager of HappyPaws Haven and principal carer, Sally Rogers, has educated volunteers, carers, and work experience students, at both the school and TAFE level, in aspects of responsible pet care and ownership. School children, seniors, those in aged care and disabled people have been encouraged to visit HappyPaws Haven to interact with pets in an appropriate and caring manner. TAFE students visit HappyPaws Haven to complete practical assignments as a part of their course work. HappyPaws Haven works with the various community service agencies to assist people build a path back into the community.

We are committed to promoting a safe, comfortable and enjoyable environment for pets, and the families that care for them.

This site allows other rescue groups and individuals to advertise - for free - animals in their care along with photos and descriptions. Our policy includes the desexing of all animals before they go to their new homes. If you are a member of the public wishing to find a home for your pet, proof of desexing must be provided before we can assist you with advertising of your pet on this site.

Where are we:



Sally Rogers

General Manager

Phone: 0419404766

Email: sally@happypawshaven.com.au

How we think

"We need another wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal nature, and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion. We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein we err, and greatly err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the next of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendor and travail of the earth."

 From the book called 'The Outermost House' by Henry Beston.