About Us

The SAVE shelter facility has the capacity to house upwards of 100 animals at a time (approximately 75 cats and 25 dogs).  Our number of adoptions is growing every year.  We are committed to strengthening the human animal bond and to finding good homes for many deserving pets.  As the region's model animal welfare organization and a premier adoption and volunteer center, funding is critical to the scope and quality of our services.  SAVE is not supported by your tax dollars and does not receive funding at the local, state or federal levels.

Our Mission

Founded in 1941, SAVE is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit animal shelter dedicated to protecting the health and welfare of homeless companion animals in the greater Princeton area. Through six core programs of Rescue, Shelter, Health and Welfare, Spay/Neuter, Adoption, and Humane Education, SAVE focuses on the rehabilitation and successful placement of treatable and adoptable animals. SAVE endeavors to build, foster, and strengthen the human-animal bond.


In 1941, two forward-thinking animal lovers, veterinarian Dr. Cornelia Jaynes (the 3rd female to graduate from Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine) and her friend, Ms. Emily Myrick, created the Small Animal Veterinary Endowment (SAVE) to rescue stray cats and dogs, shelter them on Dr. Jaynes’ farm, and provide spay/neutering services.  Dr. Jaynes died in 1969 and bequeathed her farm, our previous location at 900 Herrontown Road in Princeton, to SAVE.

In 2006, SAVE merged with Friends of Homeless Animals, an organization founded in 1998 that had purchased property in Skillman, NJ for a shelter.  The newly merged organization was renamed SAVE, A Friend to Homeless Animals and is now the largest shelter for companion animals in the greater Princeton region.

The property, on which SAVE is currently located, included a requirement to restore the historic James Van Zandt family home (a property formerly owned and abandoned by the NJ State DOC).  SAVE's Capital Campaign, raised the money to build the shelter and the restoration funds were provided by a benefactor.  SAVE, A Friend to Homeless Animals officially moved in to the new shelter in December 2015.


Key staff

Heather L. Achenbach

Executive Director

Heather L. AchenbachHeather joined SAVE in June of 2017. With over 20 years in the pharmaceutical industry, specifically clinical trial operations management, she brings significant experience in internal and external relationship building and strong motivational skills to the shelter. With 12 years of direct people management experience, Heather is adept at bringing cross-functional teams and initiatives to success. A life-long animal lover, volunteer and foster, Heather has adopted a cat and dog from SAVE and is dedicated to the cause of animal welfare. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Ursinus College, Collegeville, PA

Jill Van Tuyl

Director of Operations

Jill has more than 20 years of experience working in animal welfare and specifically animal shelters large and small. She brings strong shelter operations knowledge to SAVE having held leadership positions at ASPCA, Arizona Humane Society, and several others. In addition to a BS in Psychology from the University of Phoenix, Jill also maintains various FEMA disaster response certifications. She has served as a Board Member on multiple animal protection and welfare organizations. Jill hails from Asbury, NJ and loves to spend time with her dog, Lacey, and her cat, Zen.

Donna Alfieri, DVM

Shelter Veterinarian

Dr. Alfieri’s professional experience includes owning and operating a private veterinary hospital, practicing at a low cost high volume spay/neuter clinic, and caring for shelter pets. She earned her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Ross University in 1991. Dr. Alfieri believes strongly in the “Five Freedoms” and strives to create a better environment for all shelter animals. (Dr. Alfieri is a bit camera shy - her dog, Ziegfried, is her stand-in!)

Dj Downing

Director of Marketing Communications & Development


DJ Downing

Ayako Yoshikawa

Development Assistant and Bookkeeper



Sierra Crubaugh

Foster Coordinator



Lisa Luscuskie

Volunteer and Adoption Event Coordinator


Ann-Marie Krahel

Humane Education Director


Ann-Marie Krahel

Board of Trustees

  • Pamela Murdoch, President
  • Roberta N. Ellsworth, Vice President
  • Catheryn E Murdoch, Treasurer
  • Liza S. Morehouse, Secretary
  • Jeff Behm
  • Pete Callaway
  • Mark Dennish
  • Susan Feeney
  • Victor Garber
  • Pamela Mills
  • Jennifer R. Piasio
  • John D. Sayer
  • Lisa Semple
  • William Sweeney
  • Lisa Warren

Trustees Emeriti

  • Douglas Breen
  • Janet Haring
  • Brad Mills

SAVE’S Core Programs

Rescue - SAVE receives daily inquiries regarding the placement of animals in need. Our organization works closely with local animal control officers as well as rescue groups and animal shelters from across the state to save animals from euthanasia. We are also the only shelter in the Princeton region that will accept pet surrenders when an owner can no longer care for a pet (based on space availability).

Shelter - For 78 years, SAVE has been helping homeless companion animals find a second chance at a happy life. Our shelter has been a safe haven for thousands of pets since 1941. We are a full-service shelter, one that also accepts animal surrenders from individuals and rescue groups on a space-available basis.

Adoption - SAVE's main goal is to find the best possible homes for the animals in our care. To achieve this, SAVE has a comprehensive adoption process that involves community outreach, adopter screening, animal behavior counseling and follow-up services. Many SAVE adopters have returned to the shelter to adopt again and again.

Health & Welfare - SAVE provides top-quality veterinary care to every animal in residence. Services include a routine medical exam, heartworm testing and prevention for dogs, leukemia and FIV testing for cats, age-appropriate distemper and rabies vaccinations, de-worming, and flea and tick preventatives. We also offer top-quality care to the abused, neglected, injured or ill dogs and cats we receive. These animals usually need specialized medical treatment, behavioral training and/or extra love and nurturing before they are ready for adoption.

Spay/Neuter - To address the serious proliferation of unwanted animals that often become homeless or abused, SAVE spays or neuters every unaltered animal.

Humane Education - SAVE is committed to humane education because children who learn to respect animals at an early age grow into adults with compassion, respect and empathy for all their fellow creatures, human or animal. Through our Partners in Empathy (PET) Program, SAVE helps local educators incorporate learning about animal welfare into a variety of disciplines: science, language arts, environmental studies and art. Youth groups and other community organizations collaborate with SAVE on appropriate ways to teach and learn about animals.