A dog discarded in a gas station dumpster in West Islip, NY on Christmas Eve is now ready for adoption.
The dog, first dubbed "Noel" after being discovered, but renamed "Miracle" by shelter workers who brought her back to health, has spent several weeks in limbo as her legal case advanced and she recovered from the trauma.
Michael Papini, a custodian who cleaned the kennels at the Town of Islip Animal Shelter, was charged with felony aggravated animal cruelty, abandonment of animals, petty larceny and other related offenses.
Papini allegedly gained custody of Miracle when he told a woman he could take the dog to the shelter and see that the dog was adopted. Papini also supposedly took a creamed colored poodle, Bailey, which he allegedly dumped in the township of Babylon. That dog has never been located, despite a $500 reward offered by the SPCA. If you have any information on the missing dog, please call the SPCA at 631-382-7722.
Miracle was found by a homeless man after she chewed her way out of a plastic bag. A review of the gas station surveillance tape showed a man believed to be Papini dumping the dog in the dumpster.
Inez Birbiglia, communications director for the Town of Islip, told Pet360 that Papini was suspended without pay, a status that will remain with him until the conclusion of his criminal case.
Papini did not have a criminal history prior to his hiring in May 2013 and the city does not believe he took custody of, or harmed any other animals at the shelter, according to Birbiglia.
Miracle's previous owner relinquished custody and Miracle has been spayed and underwent full-vetting. Her once matted fur is now smooth and shiny, but damage to her psyche will be harder to heal, says Birbiglia.
"She has quite a bit of anxiety, as you might imagine," Birbiglia shared. "We're looking for a quieter household." The perfect family for Miracle will be one with no small children or other pets. Due to Miracle's anxiety issues, she has not been put on public display at the shelter. Workers will take applications for Miracle in person at the Islip Animal Shelter and Adopt-a-Pet Center on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, until Wednesday, January 29, between the hours of 12 p.m. and 2:00 pm. After a committee reviews the applicants, finalists will be called to the shelter to meet Miracle. The adoption fee is $105.
Editor’s Note: Photo of Miracle courtesy of the Town of Islip.