Entire Dog Lost, Delta Offers $200 Credit

Where’s Paco? Josiah doesn’t know, his girlfriend doesn’t know, someone at Delta might know. After all, Delta was supposed to load Josiah’s new dog on the same plane that Josiah got on. Paco didn’t land with them. Frantic, Josiah called around desperately before being told that Paco was safe and sound, being taken care of by Delta employees, who would put him on the next flight out. Paco wasn’t on that one either. More harried calls and Delta told Josiah Paco had “escaped” and the best they could do is refund his $200.00 pet transportation fee, but only as a “credit” for future Delta travel. That doesn’t do Josiah any good, as he’s vowed to never fly Delta again. Here’s his story, and more adorable/sad puppy pictures:

UPDATE: Delta Offers $380 Plus 2 More $200 Vouchers For Lost Pooch

UPDATE: Delta spokesperson Susan Elliott says, “This is extremely rare for a situation like this to happen.” She says that they are going to be offering Josiah “additional compensation as well as our sincere apology.”

UPDATE: Josiah says the dog was vaccinated four days prior to the flight for rabies, kennel cough, and giardia, and given two other drugs, Canigen L Canigen MHA2PPi. He says the vet told him that the dog only needed to be vaccinated 3 days before flying.

It should be noted that the rabies vaccine is not considered effective until 30 days after administration.

However, even if this was a factor, Josiah says he was not asked to show any proof of the dog’s shots and Delta personnel told that this would be asked for in customs in Detroit.

Hi, my name is Josiah and I recently travelled to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico with Delta Airlines, and I am so appalled by them I can’t stand it. I booked my flights online, and that part went smoothly, but that’s the only good part of my traveling with them. I flew out of Detroit Metro in the early morning of April 24th 2010, and flew to Atlanta to catch a transfer which would take me to Puerto Vallarta. After arriving about an hour late and having to run to catch my plane, they said that they weren’t boarding any more passengers, but were taking an extra fifteen minutes to load all the baggage on the plane. When we arrived in Puerto Vallarta I was informed that, along with most people who were on the original flight from Detroit, my baggage never left the Atlanta airport, and I had to wait until the next day to receive all of my clothes and necessities for traveling.

Now, while I know that this isn’t too out of the ordinary, and that airlines have baggage delayed quite commonly, the next issue is one that is completely unacceptable and should never happen regardless of circumstances. When in Mexico, my girlfriend and I rescued a stray dog which our hosts said had been seen all over the town. 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. After this treatment at the vet clinic, we had to spend multiple additional hours picking more ticks from his body. We soon discovered that this dog was a very lucky find, and that it would be loyal and friendly to my girlfriend and I. It would walk by my side along the beach and along the sidewalks, went to the washroom outside, didn’t bark at cars or other dogs, and would sleep on the bed next to us curled up in a ball quite contently. My girlfriend and I were both very excited to take him back home to Canada with us, and we quite readily paid for an airline approved pet carrier and the costs associated with checking a pet on an airplane to travel as baggage, as he was too big to be taken as carry-on.

Everything went smoothly traveling with AeroMéxico from Puerto Vallarta to Mexico City, where we had a five hour layover. We took the dog out so he could go to the bathroom and stretch his legs in-between our flights, and two hours before we departed from Mexico City to Detroit Metro we checked him with Delta for the flight. It took us a whole hour to check the dog because Delta said that the pet carrier we purchased was not big enough, despite the vet who treated the dog saying it was large enough, and it meeting all the criteria such as the dog being able to turn around and stand up. We spent the hour trying to convince the Delta employee that the carrier was large enough, and after seeing two separate supervisors, we had to sign a waiver saying that if my dog Paco received any injuries as a result of the size of the carrier, that Delta Airlines was not responsible.

After the fiasco of the size of the carrier being an issue, they assured us that Paco would be alright and transported safely to Detroit. However, when we arrived in Detroit and waited for twenty minutes at the pet claim, we began to suspect that something was wrong. We spent two hours in the Detroit Metro Airport trying to sort out what had happened to our dog, and we were told that it was never loaded on the plane in the first place, and that it was forgotten in Mexico City but 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.

gonedoggygone.jpgWhen I called Delta the following day to ask if Paco had been flown to Detroit yet, no one seemed to have any answers or have any idea about the location of my dog. I was shocked. I had been told explicitly that my dog was being cared for in Mexico City by Delta until he could be flown and delivered to me, and now they were telling me that they didn’t know where my dog was. I had my host in Mexico call the Mexico City Airport to get some answers, and she spent hours being transferred from person to person, each one having no idea what happened to my dog, she was finally told that my dog had somehow escaped from the carrier and disappeared. I do not believe for a second that Paco escaped from his carrier. 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.

If indeed he did somehow manage to escape from the carrier, why would I not have been informed of this in the first place? I was told that he was accounted for and being cared for in Mexico City, then that no one had any idea where he was, and then that he had escaped from the carrier.

There is no excuse for this kind of situation to take place, and I expect that when you pay to have a live animal flown with you to take him home, that Delta Airlines would take every precaution and action needed to make sure that is what happens. My dog is likely either still in his carrier in a corner, having not eaten or drank for over 48 hours, or he is lost in the Mexico City Airport terrified and starving.

The only thing Delta has tried to do to rectify this situation is offering their apology and refunding the cost for transporting a pet ($200.00USD) in a credit to be used with Delta Airlines. I think that this is completely absurd as there is no chance of me flying with Delta Airlines again.

That really sucks, Josiah. At the very least, Delta should give that $200 as a full refund. And as commenter tungstencoil points out, try asking them to return to you the dog carrier. It’s your property, and making them produce it could force some honesty out of the situation.

We’ve reached out to Delta for comment.

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