Last week, we reported that a German man tried to send tarantulas through the mail for profit. This week, a puppy was sent through the mail as a birthday gift.
The puppy is now in the care of an animal shelter for at least 1 more week. An administrative hearing officer ruled that the puppy should not be returned to its owner, in this bizarre case. Officer Fabian Hoffner ruled against returning the dog to Stacey Champion of Minneapolis after she did a ‘disgraceful act’.
Last month, the 4 month old Schnauzer-poodle mix was nearly sent in a cardboard box all the way to Georgia. Alarmed postal workers intercepted the present, and authorities say that the dog would have died from exposure of the unpressurised belly of a cargo plane or would have suffocated.
Champion admitted at the hearing that she put Guess, the puppy, into a box without food on January 25. She said that it was supposed to a birthday gift for her son who was residing in Atlanta. As delivery was halted, “I was deprived of my son not receiving his gift for his birthday. I felt really, really bad as a mom.”
This very rare and unusual case made US Postal Service employees confused as they were not sure whether the shipment was actually legal, according to Postal Inspector Jesse Swanson. At the hearing, Swanson said that he got a call from the Loring Post Office station manager asking whether the Postal Service was prohibited from mailing puppies on the day that the dog was discovered. Swanson said that he actually had to check the rules before learning that it was not allowed. “This was somewhat uncharted territory for us,” he said.
The employees at the Loring Station post office in downtown Minneapolis were suspicious about the package, after they saw the box move on its own. They also heard breathing inside. According to postal clerks, Champion had told them that the box contained a toy robot.
Postal clerks then called Swanson and held the phone up to the box. They said that they could hear what was inside panting, and that the panting was getting slower and less frequent. As a result, Swanson allowed for the box to be opened.
According to the Postal Service, they will ship live animals through the mail. These animals are bees, harmless cold-blooded animals, ducklings, and chicks. However, sending live cats and dogs through the mail are not allowed.
Champion told Hoffner, “I did my best with the procedures and everything,” adding that she didn’t see any signs at the post office indicating what could or could not be shipped. She said the box had air holes and held water bottles. However, Postal Officials say that the box’s air holes were covered by packing tape. There were also no water bottles.
During the hearing, Hoffner asked Champion why she said that it was a toy robot. “Because the lady, she just kept throwing the box around, kept throwing the box around, so I just told her it was a toy robot,” Champion said.
Surrounded by news cameras and reporters, Champion left City Hall and declined to comment. The dog is now in the care of the Minneapolis Animal Care and Control Shelter since its discover. It is still owned by Champion, but it will be adopted. Champion will have to pay the bond for Guess’ care at the shelter until the end of February, where Champion will have to attend a hearing on animal cruelty charges for trying to mail Guess.
If the bond is not posted within 5 days, then Champion will lose ownership of the puppy. It will the be available for adoption. However, the ultimate ownership really depends on the result of the animal cruelty charges.
Sgt. Angela Dodge of the Police Department said that Guess is doing well. Despite the trauma, Guess seems happy and healthy who likes to play and receive attention. Interested Minneapolis citizens have been calling into the Police Department to try and adopt the puppy.
Anyone who wishes to adopt from the city shelter must appear there in person. If more than 1 person wants an animal, then a lottery will be held. If Guess does go for adoption, the shelter will inform the media to give interested people proper time to plan accordingly.