MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — An administrative hearing officer has denied a Minneapolis woman’s request to get her puppy back, after she attempted to mail the pet to Georgia.
Stacey Champion was in court Monday morning, trying to convince officials to give the puppy back to her. Currently, the poodle/Schnauzer mix is being kept at the Minneapolis Animal Care and Control center, where it’s been since Jan. 25.
Champion, 39, told the officer the puppy was a gift for her son’s birthday. She showed that the box she used had birthday wrapping on it and pointed out where she poked holes for the dog to breathe.
However, those holes were covered in tape. Champion also noted that she packed water bottles inside the box for the dog.
She told the hearing officer, Fabian Hoffner, that she feels bad that her son was not able to get his birthday present.
“Your honor, I was deprived of my son receiving his gift for his birthday,” she told him.
When the officer asked Champion why she sent a puppy in the mail, she replied, “I ship and they deliver.”
A postal inspector said when Champion was asked what she was trying to mail, she told them it was a toy robot.
Champion was charged with animal cruelty, after postal workers found the pup inside a box with a two-day priority sticker on it at the Loring Post Office. Workers said they didn’t find food or water, as Champion claimed, inside the box — just the nine-pound 4-month-old pup.
Officials denied Champion’s appeal for the dog, meaning the shelter could make him available for adoption.
Champion has five days to come up with enough money for a bond, to cover the dog’s costs while in the shelter until her criminal charge hearing. If she doesn’t come up with the money, the puppy will go up for adoption. If she’s able to make the payment, the judge will decide if she should keep the pet, after ruling on her animal cruelty charges.
Witnesses at the hearing included a U.S. Postal Inspector who testified that this was first time he’s ever heard of a puppy being sent through the U.S. mail.
Inspector Jesse Swanson said he could hear the door panting in the box. Swanson testified that if the dog had actually gone on a plane to Georgia, “The dog probably would have suffocated to death or would have died due to exposure to cold temperatures.”
Minneapolis Animal Control investigator, Sgt. Angela Dodge, said she was relieved the puppy wasn’t released to Champion.
If more than one person is interested in adopting the puppy, a drawing of all interested parties would occur. A basic screening of potential owners is required.