Suffolk County SPCA officials spent Sunday afternoon knocking on doors and putting up reward posters in Babylon, hoping to find a miniature poodle they say was abandoned by an Islip Town animal shelter worker who dumped another live dog in a garbage bin.
That worker, Michael Papini, 30, of Babylon, was arrested Friday after authorities said he stuffed one dog, a Lhasa apso, into a garbage bin at a West Islip gas station.
Papini has been charged with felony aggravated animal cruelty, abandonment of animals, petty larceny and other crimes.
The Lhasa apso was found Tuesday by a man digging through the garbage, but the fate of the cream-colored male poodle that authorities said Papini abandoned on Cooper Street in Babylon remains unknown.
"Somebody may have taken the dog," said Roy Gross, SPCA chief of department. "We're hoping somebody will come forward and we'll have another happy ending."
The SPCA is offering a $500 reward for information leading to the recovery of the poodle, named Bailey. The SPCA can be reached at 631-382-7722.
Authorities said a woman gave the poodle and the Lhasa apso to Papini, who agreed to take them to the shelter where he worked. She also gave him $250, according to court records.
But instead of taking the dogs to the shelter, Papini let the poodle out of his vehicle on Cooper Street and dumped the other dog in the trash bin.
The town said it has suspended Papini without pay.
He was identified after news outlets aired surveillance video showing a sport utility vehicle driver dumping a plastic bag at a USA gas station in West Islip on Dec. 23. Other surveillance footage shows the same driver abandoning the poodle, according to authorities.
Meanwhile, the dog that was found is being housed at Islip's animal shelter in Bay Shore.
Papini is due back in court Thursday.