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HappyPaws Haven is an incorporated and endorsed animal welfare charity providing services in the Clarence Valley & Coffs Harbour Regions and throughout 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. Veterinary Services are provided by the Clarence Valley Veterinary Clinic. 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 caring as many as we have space and funds for. We endeavour focus on those who need help most. HappyPaws Haven is a No-Kill organisation, meaning that every animal we rescue we commit to caring for that animal until a suitable loving home is found no matter how long that takes.
At our Animal Rescue, Rehabilitation and 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 catteries. When an animal arrives injured or sick they are quarantined and nurtured by caring human hands back to health. These dogs and cats are kept separated from the main population until an emotional, physical, 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 South Grafton, just off the Gwydir Highway.
 Since July 2006 over 3500 animals have been rescued and cared for by the volunteer carers in the area and at the shelter. These 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 3500 undesexed 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 would be enormous!
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 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 healthy 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.  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. All animals are micro-chipped at the shelter if they have not been chipped prior to arrival.
Animals which have not been surrendered are published on social media, local vets are notified, to see if their owners can be located. If their owners can’t be found then the pound is notified so that the correct process to try to locate the owner can be initiated.
Following assessment of the animal’s health and behaviour the animal is integrated with similar type animals placed in temporary care. At this time, the animals are vet checked to determine the health of the animal, and provided with any treatment required. They are immunised and if older enough desexed.
 Any ongoing health problems are monitored and treated by the Clarence Valley Vet clinic and qualified experienced carers. All adult dogs are assessed and rehabilitation and training plans are implemented. 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 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.
Happy Paws Haven also takes in a limited number of dogs. Cabin style kennels are provided at the shelter. These cabins are acoustically attenuated, insulated and ventilated and are situated in spacious yards.  All animals are fed premium 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 Sheltermanager as well as in a Excel Spreadsheet 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, and social media.
 A dedicated website www.happypawshaven.com.au is used to find suitable homes for rescued animals. 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 founder of HappyPaws Haven, 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. 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.

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