08 February 2011

Woman charged with animal cruelty after air-mailing a dog, then demands a refund

The clerk at the post office asked Stacy Champion from Minneapolis all the usual questions on receiving the parcel, “Any perishables, liquids or hazardous materials?” Champion said no, but asked the workers to be careful with the box because it “was so delicate.” She further added that if staff heard any noises, not to worry as it contained a toy robot. The box was to be delivered to Champions’ son in Atlanta, and on the outside of the parcel she had written, “This is for your 11th birthday. It’s what you wanted.”

Workers called a postal inspector after the box moved and began making noises, who gave permission for the box to be opened. To their surprise a 4 month old puppy rushed out, panting heavily.

“It’s just crazy,” said Minneapolis Police Sgt. Angela Dodge. “It was supposed to be a birthday gift for a family member. It would have been kind of traumatizing to get a dead puppy.”

Dodge said that the air holes on the box had been covered in packing tape, and that the parcel would take two days to reach its destination. The journey would include being in the cargo hold on a plane where temperatures reach -40 degrees. “And there was no food and water,” added Dodge. “Puppies can’t go for long periods without food and water.”

In a bizarre twist, Champion returned to the post office and demanded a refund for the $22 postal charges for the parcel. Postal workers refused.

Champion has since stated that she wants the puppy, named Guess, to be returned to her, and went before the appeal board yesterday (Monday) morning. At the appeal, Champion admitted to putting Guess in a box with no food and water, and as the parcel was not sent she said, “I was deprived of my son not receiving his gift for his birthday. I felt really, really bad as a mom.”

The hearing officer has ruled that Champion cannot have Guess returned to her, and he must stay in the shelter for at least another week. Champion does still own the puppy, and must pay a bond for his care until Feb. 28th when she returns to court on two counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty. If she does not post the bond, she will lose ownership and he will be available for adoption. But if the bond is paid, then ownership will be determined by the outcome of the court case.

Meanwhile, against all the odds, Guess has recovered well from his ordeal. Sgt. Dodge said, “Despite the trauma he endured, he appears to be a healthy and happy puppy who likes to play and receive attention from staff.”

Source: Star Tribune

Bev Hahler | @redhotvegan
Bev, a vegetarian since she was 14 years old, became more interested in veganism several years ago after studying Agro-business as part of an Ecology degree. She has a gorgeous daughter in second grade who has been a vegetarian her whole life (lucky girl). Follow Bev on her blog and Facebook.

Photo credit:cc:flickr.com/photos/lethacolleen