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First an undeliverable piece of mail, Guess now may be in a custody fight.

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Woman who tried to mail puppy wants him back

  • Article by: MARY LYNN SMITH
  • Star Tribune
  • February 4, 2011 - 3:57 PM

The Minneapolis woman who tried to mail a puppy wants him back.

"I'm just appalled," said Mitzi Carroll, who learned about the puppy's plight from a TV broadcast in Georgia, where she lives. "And now she wants it back? Really? I have a strong problem with that. How do you put a puppy in a box and try to mail it? That's just animal cruelty."

That's exactly what Minneapolis authorities thought. They charged Stacey Champion, 39, with animal cruelty and impounded Guess, a 4-month-old poodle-Schnauzer mix that postal officials said likely would have been DOA at its Georgia destination.

As word of the pup's discovery in a sealed box with no air holes spread across the country, concerned animal lovers began calling and e-mailing city officials with requests to adopt the black dog.

But Carroll, who already has adopted two dogs and three cats, and other would-be rescuers will have to wait for the outcome of an administrative hearing Monday, at which Champion is scheduled to plead for the dog's return.

That request itself is a bit unusual. "In the four years that I've been here, we never had a person appeal after an animal was impounded because of animal cruelty," said Dan Niziolek, manager for Minneapolis' Animal Care and Control. Of course, city officials can't remember ever handling a case in which someone tried to send a puppy through the mail, either.

In appealing the case, Champion had to pay about $250 in fees for the city to kennel and care for the puppy. If she loses her case before the administrative hearing officer, the puppy would be put up for adoption or she could take her case to the Court of Appeals, Niziolek said. But Champion would have to pay the city $15 a day for the puppy's care until her case was resolved.

The hearing is set for 11 a.m. Monday at City Hall, Room 314, said city spokesman Matt Laible.

Champion also needs to resolve the criminal case for animal cruelty in Hennepin County District Court. Even if she wins the puppy back during her appeal, a judge could restrict her ownership of animals, Niziolek said.

Champion didn't return calls asking about her plans for Monday's hearing.

"I would like to be at that hearing. I really would," said Sally Shortridge, who is outraged over the idea that an adult woman who put a puppy in the mail might regain custody.

"I have nieces and nephews at 12 and 14 who would know much better," she said. "She shouldn't get that poor little puppy back."

Mary Lynn Smith • 612-673-4788

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