For animal rights advocates, Michael Papini, 30, could be the ultimate fallen angel is allegations against him are proven. The Suffolk County SPCA says that it was a videotape of Papini throwing a plastic bag into a dumpster that they say contained the female Lhasa Apso shown above. He is being charged with felony aggravated animal cruelty, animal abandonment, and other related charges.
The dog was placed in a box with holes in it, then wrapped in a plastic bag. The dog chewed its way out of the container and bag and was later found by a dumpster diver looking for food. The dog has been sent to a shelter and is recovering.
Police say that a woman paid Papini $500 to take her two dogs to the shelter because she could no longer care for them. That leads to a question of fraud given the payment to arrange for the proper treatment of the dogs.
The case raises a question as to whether, if proven, someone like Papini should be given an enhanced sentence due to his position. Putting aside the $500, some courts will include an aggravating factor for abuse of authority or position. That would certainly seem relevant if the $500 payment is proven, but even without it, should a shelter employee be given a harsher sentence than a non-shelter employee?