The Town of Babylon Animal Shelter officially adopted Trigger, a pit bull who has been at the shelter for several years. The director of the shelter, Chris Elton, spoke to Newsday on Thursday about Trigger's impact on the staff, especially during the pandemic. Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas/ Alejandra Villa Loarca

Babylon Town has adopted many laws, policies and procedures over the years. Now the town has adopted its first dog.

The town, through formal resolution and ceremony, has officially adopted Trigger, a long-time resident of the town’s animal shelter who staff felt was unlikely to be adopted. On the steps of Town Hall on Friday, Trigger was given a formal ceremony to mark the occasion.

"Now he’s an official part of the Babylon family," said Town Supervisor Rich Schaffer.

Trigger, adorned in top hat and tuxedo, didn’t have much to say on the matter, but his constantly wagging tail spoke for him.

"It’s kind of like a dream come true," said Kristin Siarkowicz, an animal control officer at the shelter in Amityville.

Trigger, a pitbull mix, came to the shelter in 2015 when he was 3 years old. He had been chained up and living "in a hole" in the backyard of a Deer Park home, emaciated and covered in wounds, said shelter director Chris Elton. Staff thought his condition was just from neglect, but they soon discovered Trigger had medical issues that had not been treated.

"Despite all of that, he was, to the majority of people, the nicest of dogs," Elton said. "He just wanted attention and love."

"It's kind of like a dream come true," Kristin Siarkowicz,...

"It's kind of like a dream come true," Kristin Siarkowicz, an animal control officer at the Babylon Town animal shelter in Amityville, said of Trigger's official adoption by the town. Trigger enjoys a special status at the shelter, where he has multiple resting spots and toys, and spends his days alongside staff. Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas

Trigger was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that causes the muscles in his head to atrophy. He also had a condition where his eyelids rolled in causing irritation to his eyes. He had surgery on his eyes but then staff discovered he also has severe food allergies.

Elton kept Trigger in his office, so that staff could regularly attend to the dog’s medical needs. He gets daily medicine, supplements, baths and treatments, and staff must provide constant care for his eyes, skin and diet, as well as massage his jaw, which continues to close up each year.

The shelter tried to adopt out Trigger for years, and while they got some interest, none of the homes were suitable since he also cannot be with other animals due to aggression.

"With Trigger it was cumulative," Elton said. "It was behavior, it was age, it was medicine."

The shelter recently took him off the adoption list.

"He means a lot to us and we had to make sure he went to the perfect place, and it turns out the perfect place is here with us," said Jill Sanacore, animal control officer.

Over the years Trigger proved to be great with people and became the shelter’s unofficial greeter. Gentle and attentive, he also began to have a profound effect on staff.

"He’s like the shelter therapist," Siarkowicz said. "If anybody is having a bad day and you just need to give a dog a hug, he’s the most willing dog to accept that."

Trigger has learned which of his three beds to lounge in to get attention, treats and sunshine, and when he needs more water, he picks up his water bowl and shows it to staff.

"He is a source of joy and comfort to us all," Elton said. "To have somebody who we can rely on, to always be in a good mood, to always be receptive to our love and love us all back is something that brings us great peace."


Official Title: Companion animal of the Town of Babylon Animal Shelter

Breed: Pitbull mix

Age: 8

Weight: 70 pounds

Favorite Treats: Sweet potato, venison, baby carrots, apples, string beans.

Favorite Toys: Anything soft and squeaky, and a stuffed lamb he keeps with him.

Claim to Fame: He is featured on the shelter’s social media pages every holiday and on “Trigger Tuesdays,” and is the model for the shelter’s logo.

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