updated 2/1/2011 8:38:34 PM ET 2011-02-02T01:38:34

A Minneapolis woman has been charged with animal cruelty after postal workers say she tried to mail a puppy to Atlanta in a sealed box with no air holes.

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Postal Service spokesman Pete Nowacki says employees became suspicious when the box suddenly fell off the counter after the woman left the post office Jan. 25. Postal inspectors opened the priority mail parcel and found a 4-month-old poodle mix, panting hard, inside.

Police Sgt. William Palmer says without the postal workers' intervention, the puppy would certainly have died in the airplane's unheated and non-pressurized cargo hold. It also had no food or water.

The Star Tribune says 39-year-old Stacey Champion has been charged with animal cruelty. The dog was taken to the city's animal control facility.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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