Unsung Hero #65

“Dogcatcher” is often used as a putdown.

“I wouldn’t vote for him for dogcatcher,” someone says. Or, “It doesn’t matter if you’re a CEO or a dogcatcher.”

But where would Westport be without our dogcatcher? Or — more appropriately — our animal control officer?

Elizabeth DeVoll nominates Joe Saporare for Hero of the Day.

The other day, she was gardening with her 15-year-old, “somewhat senile” dog Quinn. Suddenly, she noticed he had slipped out of his collar. Quinn — who is never far from Elizabeth’s side — was gone.


Frantically, she searched the neighborhood. Then she called Joe.

He said he’d just picked Quinn up. The dog was safe and sound at the Animal Control Center, on Elaine Road off South Compo near the boat launch.

Elizabeth rushed down. Quinn was relaxing comfortably. Joe told her he’d gotten a call about a dog wandering busy Newtown Turnpike. The officer was there within minutes.

Elizabeth has met Joe several times before — when she found lost dogs. “He always is kind, and on the ball, when he reunites lost pups to their human parents,” she says.

Joe Saponare, with Quinn.

“Funny how in cartoons, we always think of the dogcatcher as a bad guy,” she adds. “Joe is definitely a very good boy!”

And, happily, our Unsung Hero this week.

20 responses to “Unsung Hero #65

  1. I’ve had several opportunities to work with Office Saponare, and he is a treasure! Westport and pet owners here are so fortunate to have him…

  2. Here! Here!

    Officer Saponare is a huge asset to our community! (as is Officer Gambino and their predecessor, the incredibly generous Peter D’Amico!) – Chris Woods

  3. Mary Palmieri Gai

    Great guy! So glad everyone else knows now!

  4. Theresa Kovacs

    Good Job Joe! Also a great guy!

  5. Thank you, Officer Saponare for coming to Quinn’s rescue. So love happy endings. Quinn is adorable!

  6. Joe, we are so lucky, in Westport, to have YOU on the job at times when Animal “Control” needs to be Animal CARE…..the times you are off, Westport is left with some animal control and little animal CARE.
    Thank you!

  7. Joe Saponare is the Best!! Cheer Joe!! 🙂

  8. What a very cute dog

  9. Joe- thank you for all you do. We are very fortunate to have someone like Joe who is a people person, and loves animals. Appreciate all the help you have given us over the years..I agree with Dan, truly is “animal care” as the animals are usually the ones in control, who just happen to need good human care.

  10. Joe. Is one off the best Westport ct has

  11. Sally Campbell Palmer.

    Joe is a very nice man!

  12. Thank you Elizabeth for nominating Officer Saponare, and thank you Dan for writing his story. Historically Westport Animal Control has been a shelter where impounded dogs are given care that well exceeds state mandated care, and they are given the time they need to find their forever homes should they not be reunited with their owner. WASA, the volunteer group for Westport Animal Control, greatly appreciates the effort Officer Saponare makes to ensure the dogs get their breakfast and dinner on time, get their daily walks, rest comfortably in clean kennels and remain happy, healthy and stress-free until they are adopted. We also appreciate the courtesy he shows WASA members in regard to the care we provide, the home visits we do to ensure safe adoptions and the vet care we fund for guests at Westport Animal Control. A big WASA wag of the tail to Officer Saponare!

  13. How can anyone who loves animals be a “bad guy?”

  14. Joe “Soap” is a great guy and we are very lucky to have him..

  15. Mary Anne Mayo

    Glad to add my voice–Joe S. and Gina G. are both terrific!

  16. We’ve known Joe and the whole Saponare family for years and they are all wonderful and caring!

  17. Susie Valentine Collins

    Kudos to Officer Joe Saponare for picking up the call and heading over to get the dog off of the streets right away! Glad he is safe. I’m sure his owner was quite relieved. Also, thank you Joe for being compassionate to the dogs at the shelter. They can always rely on you!

  18. Rosalie Masseria

    Love the “dog catcher” story. While the name is a misnomer – Officer Joe sure is a blessing for these lost, abandoned dogs who he not only “catches “ but ensures they are safe , well cared for and loved
    Thank you Officer Joe – you are a role model for your profession! Hope others will learn from your example!

  19. Do I remember Joe Saponare from Westport Chevron on Wilton Road in the late 1960s?! He was always kind and wonderful.

  20. What a heartening story, and a welol deserved hero shoutout! How can Westporters can get involved in WASA? I would love to dedicate some of my time to helping out town heroes like Joe and his colleagues!