The Minneapolis woman recently charged with animal cruelty for attempting to mail a live puppy to Georgia in a sealed box asked for the animal to be returned to her in a hearing Monday.
Stacey Champion, 39, has said she intended to give the puppy, named Guess, as a birthday gift for her 11-year-old son in Atlanta. She claimed at the hearing that she made attempts to provide for Guess' welfare by punching air holes in the box and placing water bottles in it, but postal officials denied the presence of water bottles and said the holes were covered with packing tape, negating their purpose.
Postal workers reportedly noticed the box moving on its own and heard noises coming from inside when Champion brought it for shipment. Champion admitted telling a postal clerk that the box contained a "toy robot" to account for its movement, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Because the puppy didn't arrive in Atlanta as she planned, "I was deprived of my son not receiving his gift for his birthday," Champion said at the hearing. "I felt really, really bad as a mom."
Administrative hearing officer Fabian Hoffner denied Champion's request to have Guess returned to her, saying he doubted her ability to provide proper care for him. (You think?) For now, the puppy remains at a Minneapolis-area animal shelter. Multiple potential new owners have expressed interest in adopting the 4-month-old poodle mix, but he won't be made available for adoption until the conclusion of Champion's animal cruelty case unless she fails to pay a bond to provide for his care.
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-- Lindsay Barnett
Video: Minneapolis Star Tribune