Update: Woman Faces Felony Charge for Drowning Puppy in Airport Toilet

Cynthia Anderson

A Florida woman faces a felony after police say she killed a puppy at the Central Nebraska Regional Airport Friday.

Cynthia Anderson, 56, is charged with animal neglect resulting in death, which carries a maximum five year sentence.

Anderson walked with a cane when she appeared in court by video from the Hall County Jail for the first time Monday.

She told a judge she has medical conditions, listing osteoporosis, broken bones, depression and anxiety.

"I have brain damage and have a hard time understanding things," Anderson told the court.

She asked the judge to release her so she could return to Florida.

"My situation, I do have some bills to get settled there. I do have a subpoena against somebody to testify against him in Florida," said Anderson.

Judge Philip Martin ordered 10 percent of a $10,000 bond, saying it was "sufficient incentive" to make sure she returns to court. A preliminary hearing has been set for February 10.

“We just hope that my sister-in-law gets the help that she needs," said Gary Bodenheimer, who came to court Monday along with other members of Anderson's family.

Bodenheimer said they are devastated.

"So upset that this has happened to this little puppy,” he said. “It's hard for us to understand."

Grand Island Police said Anderson tried to board a flight at the Grand Island airport Thursday with two crated dogs and three 13-day-old puppies in her carry-on. Because of the size of planes flying out of the airport, many carry-ons are stowed beneath the plane.

Central Nebraska Humane Society staff said the puppies, a medium-sized breed, could have been even younger.

When Anderson was denied boarding, she returned again Friday, according to police.

Authorities said she was denied again after trying to carry on one puppy in luggage. That's when police said Anderson went into a bathroom, drowned the puppy in a toilet and tried to flush the body.

The Humane Society was already on their way from their shelter, less than two miles from the airport.

“We were literally on our way out as the incident was transpiring,” said Laurie Dethloff, CNHS executive director. "It's disheartening because we were only a mile away."

The remains were found by another passenger. Police were called around 2:00 p.m.

Dethloff said airport staff did everything right. She credits passengers for alerting staff and cooperating with the police investigation.

"Their priority was for the well being of an animal and that's a powerful statement,” said Dethloff. “There's a lot of things that go on that we don't have enough eyes or ears to, so when we've had the public involved we've had good results with prosecution."

The older yorkies that Dethloff said were properly crated are being cared for at the shelter. The puppy's body is also there, considered evidence.

Anderson's family is caring for the two other puppies that she tried to board with on Thursday.

"The two puppies are safe. The two puppies are being well taken care of," said Bodenheimer.

Dethloff said if all three puppies would have made it past security and been stowed below the plane, the results would likely have been even worse.

"It's pretty obvious that you have to keep them within the cabin for air pressure and heat; and so you don't want to lose your pet just by trying to save some money," she said.

Different airlines have different policies on transporting pets. Here are a few:

Allegiant Air

American Airlines

Delta Airlines

Great Lakes Airlines

United Airlines