COLUMBIA, SC — Joseph Savitz believes that pet lovers have a right to reliable information. It’s a belief the animal advocate has used to help inform the public about animal cruelty.
Savitz, who retired as an attorney with the S.C. Office of Appellate Defense, has been named The Humane Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ volunteer of the year. The society offers low-cost spay and neuter surgeries to end animal overpopulation and investigates and addresses animal cruelty complaints
Savitz volunteers in the Humane Society’s office, where he answers phones and uses his legal background to help callers with issues related to local and state animal cruelty laws. He also helps with other administrative tasks and animals at the Humane Society’s office.
He spoke recently about his love for animals and what motivates his volunteer service.
Of the many ways that you can devote your volunteer hours, what is it about this particular cause that is most special to you?
Savitz: “I believe everyone should volunteer some of their time to improve society, especially the lives of the less fortunate and helpless. As a criminal defense lawyer, I became aware of the alarming amount of animal cruelty and neglect occurring in this state and discovered that it would be much worse if not for the involvement of volunteers who care about animals. I volunteered to work with the Humane Society because it directly investigates cruelty to animals. Anyone can help better the lives of animals by volunteering.”
Tell us a little bit about when your personal love of animals began.
Savitz: “I grew up surrounded by animals in the small town of Abbeville, S.C. My family has had dogs and cats for as long as I can remember. I have always felt that we must take care of our animals. They need our help.”
What is one of the most frequent pieces of advice you find yourself giving to those calling the Humane Society for assistance?
Savitz: “We’re heading into a long, hot summer. If you have outdoor animals, make sure they have plenty of fresh water and a shady place out of the sun. Also, get your dogs and cats spayed or neutered. The Humane Society has top-notch, on-staff veterinarians who perform spay and neuter surgeries every day. The Humane Society is able to offer the surgeries at the lowest cost in the state, and we know that it gives pets longer, happier lives and helps prevent homeless animal overpopulation.”
Tell us a little about your own pets.
Savitz: “I have two amazing, beautiful indoor cats, Annie and Hunter. They were born a week apart and have been best friends ever since they met as kittens.”
What was your reaction to being named volunteer of the year?
Savitz: “Surprise. I was not expecting to be recognized for doing something I enjoy. I can’t speak highly enough about the people who work and volunteer at the Humane Society. I consider it an honor to work alongside them on behalf of the animals we help.”
Are you ever tempted to adopt any of the pets you run across while volunteering at the Humane Society?"
Savitz: “All the time, but I live in a condominium that only allows cats. Otherwise, I’d have a menagerie, I’m sure – especially when volunteering at the Humane Society, which is beside the City of Columbia Animal Shelter, which has plenty of great animals looking for forever families.”
What’s the best advice you have for potential pet owners?
Savitz: “Pets require time and commitment. Consider whether you have the time and are able to make that commitment before you adopt a pet.”
What can area residents do to help the Humane Society?"
Savitz: “Support our spay/neuter clinic. Volunteer your time. Supplies and monetary donations of any amount are also gratefully accepted.”