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Woman Mails Poodle Schnauzer Puppy Shipped USPS Priority as Gift

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by hearit

hearit's picture
In The News

It may not have been for Valentine’s Day but the thought was there – supposedly. A Minneapolis woman mails the (normally) unthinkable via USPS: a live puppy bound for Georgia as a birthday gift.
Stacey Champion, 39, has been charged with two misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty after attempting to literally mail a puppy last week – all the way to Georgia from a Minneapolis, Minnesota, post office. Champion says that her son was the intended recipient of the puppy meant as a surprise, a birthday present.
The woman claims she’d punched air holes, and put food in the box for the canine, before shipping the live dog. Prosecution is claiming ‘ no dice,’ that the 4-month-old poodle-schnauzer mix puppy was discovered in a well-sealed and tightly wrapped mailing box. For those whom allege that no thought was put into the shipping process of a live animal, the woman did indeed have the foresight to ship the puppy “gift” via USPS Priority Mail.
It was a U.S. Postal Service clerk who discovered the puppy in a package – but don’t count on discover of the live animal being related to in-depth or tight postal inspections: the Priority Mail box containing the puppy, which is said to have fallen off of the U.S. Postal Service counter all by itself, apparently alerted a clerk that something was awry. USPS says the postal clerk picked up the box, then heard puppy panting coming from inside.
The U.S. Postal Service says the dog would likely have died, if not found. Based on lost packages and delayed deliveries that can occur, that may well have been the case. "The dog probably would have suffocated to death or died due to exposure to cold," says Postal Inspector Jesse Swanson.
In court, the woman responsible for mailing the puppy was asked, "Did you say it was a toy robot to the [postal service] desk clerk?" "She [the USPS Postal Clerk] just kept throwing the box around,” says Champion, “so I just told her it was a toy robot." That part of the story may prove the most accurate: in a recent Popular Mechanics study comparing the three major shipping services of USPS, UPS and Fed Ex, study results showed that the United States Postal Service turned parcels or boxes at a far higher rate than either UPS or Fed Ex. Possibly those extra turns and flips begin at the counter itself.
In the study, USPS flipped over a monitored package at an average rate of more than 12 times -- at least tripling the average UPS number of flips per package. On the positive side for the enclosed dog, Popular Mechanics results also showed the USPS service as physically dropping packages, from significant heights, the least often of the three major shipping services. The U.S. Postal Service was also shown to keep a package upright, most often, of any shipping carrier in the study.
Perhaps Champion should’ve referenced the Popular Mechanics study in an attempt to aid her case – with figures that USPS is thought to be the gentlest of all major package shippers. As it turns out, things haven’t gone so well for the puppy-shipper, who openly admitted to the court hearing officer that, yes, she had in fact tried to mail the live puppy via USPS. The reason is logical – at least to the shipper :"I wanted to surprise him [Champion’s Georgia-based son] really, really good by a poodle, so when he opened the box there would be just a big surprise for him and everything," says the 39-year-old woman.
The biggest surprise for her son may have been in receiving a dead puppy.
Shipping a live puppy seems a completely reasonable idea to Champion. When asked what made her think it was OK to ship a live puppy via USPS mail, the woman’s reasoning is that there is no sign at the U.S. post office -- instructing package shippers as to what contents can or cannot be shipped via the postal service: "They [USPS] don't have a display of what should be shipped and should not be shipped," says the 39-year-old.
That “defense” went about as far, with the courts, as the woman’s request to regain ownership of the 4-month-old dog that she nearly killed. The pup will most likely be put up for adoption following Champion’s timeframe for filing appeal. Strangely, the courts weren’t too interested in giving the shipped puppy back to Champion.

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