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FOWA Rescue is an all volunteer 501(c)(3) (nonprofit) rescue organization based in Wayne, NJ serving the North Jersey area, dedicated to the

welfare, sheltering and placement of homeless animals. We are committed to educating the public about the humane treatment of animals, preventing animal cruelty and overpopulation and promoting animal welfare.


To end euthanasia of adoptable animals so one day, no healthy companion animal will be euthanized for lack of a home, space, or compassion.


President - Donna Vanderhook

  • I have always been a huge animal lover, bringing in stray cats and dogs to my home since I was a little girl. My father always told me that when I was old enough and on my own I could have as many animals as I wanted. I started volunteering with FOWA over 20 years ago by fostering mother cats and kittens. There was a need to get these very fragile babies out of the shelter and into a disease free environment. The Wayne township shelter was improving but it still wasn’t a good place for newborns to be kept.  When approached in 1994 to run for a board of directors position I decided it was time to get more involved. I wanted to make a difference in the lives of the animals and to have more of a say in the daily operations and politics of running a shelter. I have been President and Vice President since then and director of the “cat foster program”, taking in almost 2,000 cats in the past 6 years and adopting out most of them into loving homes. It is an amazing feeling to take a very sick or needy cat or kitten and turn it into an adoptable, desirable pet. I love the work and am happy I get to share my passion with great friends, family, and the volunteers FOWA.

Vice President - Shirley Pallito

  • Shirley first got involved with FOWA back in December of 2000 when she attended the Tree of Love ceremony to honor Phantom, her beloved dog, which inspired her to help other animals in need.  She started off as a dog walker and knew she wanted to do more so she became our Foster Dog Coordinator and Vice President .  Since then Shirley, who lives with her husband Mark and their two dogs, Bandit and Shelby, has been working tirelessly to help homeless dogs by raising funds, increasing awareness and growing the foster program.  Affectionately known as Pallitoville, their home has welcomed dozens of foster dogs as they start their new lives. Shirley's passion for dogs and appreciation for volunteers are what make the FOWA dog foster program so successful!

Treasurer - Jean Cadorette

  • Jean has been involved with FOWA since 2005 when she was approached to fill in for the interim as Treasurer until the next election year.  Being a big animal lover and accounting major, she decided that she could have the best of both worlds caring for animals and help maintain the finances that support them.  She decided to run for a permanent Board position of which she has held as Treasurer since she joined FOWA.  She participates on many fundraising events throughout the year with a major invovlement in the annual Tricky Tray which is FOWA's largest fundraising event every year bringing in almost 600 attendees and thousands of dollars to help care for the animals.  Jean is mom to two black cats, Sambuca and Mitsou, both of whom she adopted from FOWA.

Secretary - Margaret Carius

Board of Directors :

  • Jodi Adel 
  • Joy Fregonese

  • Mary Sepede

Cat Socializing Coordinator :

  • Mary Sepede​

Cat Health Care:

  • Mary Sepede

  • Donna Vanderhook

Dog Adoption and Health Care :

  • Shirley Pallito

Cat Adoption Coordinator :

  • Donna Vanderhook

​​Humane Education :

Photography :

  • Theo Braakman

  • Shirley Pallito

Petfinder Cat Editor :

  • Donna Vanderhook

Petfinder Dog Editor :

  • Shirley Pallito

Web Master :

  • Robert Leider​


If you are interested in seeing any of our governing documents, our conflict of interest policy or our financial statements, please direct 

your requests for copies to our treasurer:




Help with medical costs, boarding and upkeep  - DONATE TODAY!