ISLIP - A Town of Islip Animal Shelter employee is accused of tossing a black plastic bag containing a live dog into a dumpster and driving off.
Michael Papini, of Lindenhurst, was arraigned this afternoon on charges including felony aggravated animal cruelty and animal abandonment.
The Suffolk County SPCA says 30-year-old Papini, a kennel attendant, was caught on surveillance camera on Monday as he threw a small dog into the garbage outside a West Islip gas station.
Police say the dog was found wearing a pink collar and had been placed in a box with holes in it, then wrapped in a plastic bag. Cops say she was able to chew her way out of the wrappings before she was found. She had stringy, matted fur.
Investigators say a woman had paid Papini $500 to take her two dogs to the shelter because she could no longer care for them. Instead, he put one in the trash, but the other dog still hasn't been found. SPCA investigators say the missing dog is a 5-year-old tan poodle named Bailey.
Papini's attorney, Mary-Elizabeth Abbate, says her client has never been arrested before and dumping a dog would be totally out of character for him. Bail for Papini was set at $250.
After what she's been through, the shelter renamed the dog found in the dumpster "Miracle." She's not currently up for adoption, but hundreds of people have been inquiring about adopting her, according to the shelter.
The Islip shelter released a statement saying, "This troubling incident in no way reflects the loving and caring treatment for all animals from our many dedicated staff and volunteers." Papini has been suspended without pay.
Anyone who has information that can help investigators is urged to call the SPCA at 631-382-7722.