May 10th, 2010
06:11 PM ET

Delta loses dog, offers credit


[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/05/10/art.dog.gone.jpg caption="Josiah Allen's dog 'Paco' never arrived in Detroit after it was checked in with Delta in Mexico City."]

Gabriel Falcon
AC360° Writer

Losing luggage is one thing, but how could an airline misplace a dog?

A Canadian man claimed his pet disappeared after he checked the animal with Delta Airlines for a flight from Mexico City to Detroit.

Josiah Allen, of Ontario, told the consumerist.com that Delta offered him an apology and a $200 credit for future Delta travel.

“I think that this is completely absurd,” Allen wrote to consumerist.com. “There is no excuse for this kind of situation to take place.”

Allen said he and his girlfriend rescued the stray dog while on vacation last month in Puerto Vallarta.

“We took him to the vet's, got him all of his shots, an eye infection treated, two baths to clean him from hundreds of dog ticks that were covering his whole body, and gave him the name Paco,” Allen said.

According to Allen, the nightmare began when the couple attempted to check Paco with Delta for their connecting flight to Detroit. Allen said a Delta agent told them the pet carrier they purchased for Paco was not big enough. He added that the airline only accepted the carrier after he and his girlfriend signed a waiver releasing Delta of any liability if Paco was injured.

Allen said he and his girlfriend arrived in Detroit where they waited for Paco at the pet claim for about twenty minutes. Eventually, according to Allen, a Delta employee informed the couple that the dog was not at the airport and in fact had never been boarded on the plane in Mexico City.

Allen said the worker assured him that Paco “would be cared for by Delta employees and walked, fed, watered, and would be sent on the next flight to Detroit, and then get delivered to my house in Ontario, Canada.” But the next day, Allen said he called Delta to see if Paco had been flown to Detroit yet and couldn’t find anyone who knew. “No one seemed to have any answers or have any idea about the location of my dog,” Allen said. He said his host in Mexico spent hours on the phone trying to solve the mystery and was eventually was told that Paco had escaped from his carrier and disappeared.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/05/10/art.doggy.gone2.jpg]

Delta spokeswoman Susan Chana Elliott addressed the incident in the following statement to CNN:

“Our staff have conducted exhaustive searches to locate the dog which escaped from its kennel on May 3 in Mexico City. In the meantime, we have been in contact with the dog's owner to inform them of the situation and to offer our sincere apologies that we have been unable to recover the dog. The owner has also been provided compensation and additionally we have offered to reimburse them for all of the expenses associated with the dog.”

A source with the airline said the dog broke out of its kennel on the tarmac and ran away. According to the source, ramp agents chased Paco but the animal escaped through a fence. The source said employees then drove for several hours through a neighborhood near the airport attempting to locate the dog.

Allen rejects Delta’s explanation. “I do not believe for a second that Paco escaped from his carrier,” he said. “It was a very secure hard plastic pet carrier with two locks and a metal wire door, and there is no way a small dog (he looked like a mix of a wiener dog and a jack russell) could scratch or break his way out of it.”

For more crime coverage go to cnn.com/crime.

Filed under: 360° Radar • Crime & Punishment • Gabe Falcon
soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. silk

    How can a dog broke out of the kennel and ran away? Kennels are very sturdy and unless the dog is being provoked, it will not have the strength to break the kennel's door. I do think somebody intentionally unlock the door of the kennel and let the dog out. The excuse Delta Airlines gave is completely unacceptable.

    As a pet owner, I never trust anyone to take care of my pet except myself. One of my pets were lost under the care of one of my friends, because her sons were chasing and harassing it and scared the hell out of him, so he ran away.

    May 10, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  2. Brandon Lockaby

    I think (which is the possible answer) a foolish employee did this as a kick. I have a dog similar to this, and she cannot escape her carrier, as it is the same design. If this happened to me, I would decline a compensation, I would request that they go through and review all security camera video with me there. Delta has gone too far....

    May 10, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
  3. Heather

    I am so sorry to hear this heartbreaking story about Paco. At least the owners tried their best to give him a good home. This story is a good reason Airlines should allow small pets in the cabin with their owners. I have had good luck with United traveling with a cat but it is very stressful to the pet and owner.

    May 10, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  4. Wrigleys mom

    Delta is lying – Who stole the dog? How horrible that they would think a doggies life is only worth $200 bucks – he looks adorable.

    May 10, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
  5. Janice Ocala Florida

    Unfortunately the couple already signed..If it were my dog,I would have want the airlines to come get me if my dog escaped..The couple still should have recieved the carrier...I hope Paco did not turn up in a dog ring or worst..yea..someone took him..

    May 10, 2010 at 6:21 pm |