Delta’s Lost Dog Debacle

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Consider it a worst case scenario for lost luggage.  

Paco, a dachshund and Jack Russell Terrier mix, was lost by Delta Air Lines (Stock Quote: DAL) at a Mexico City airport on May 3.  He had been checked onto a Delta flight heading to Detroit by Josiah Allen and girlfriend Erin Dockerling. The couple, who rescued Paco while on vacation in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, was trying to take their new pet home to Canada.  

“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,” Allen wrote in a May 7th letter to Consumerist. “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.”

That was more than a week ago, and the dog is still missing.

Prior to enlisting Consumerist’s services, Allen had only been offered a $200 reimbursement (in the form of Delta vouchers) of the pet transportation fee.  As the story picked up press, Delta offered to pay for all related fees the couple had incurred since finding the dog (estimated to be around $380). The airline also offered two additional $200 vouchers that Allen, according to his letter, has no plan to use.

Delta is standing by its offer.            

"Our staff have conducted exhaustive searches to locate the dog which escaped from its kennel on May 3 in Mexico City.” Delta said in a statement. “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."


Allen, for his part, can’t understand how a dog escapes from a locked kennel. It seems like a legitimate concern. It’s not as though a pooch has the dexterity to slip a paw through the grate and unlock its container. Allen told Consumerist that he thought the kennel might have been lost at the airport, or “someone took him because they thought he looked like a good family dog, which he would, completely."

Despite that fact that Delta spokeswomen Susan Eliot told CNN she couldn’t recall another time that a dog was lost in transit, this isn’t the first time that the airline has lost a pet.

In March 2006, Vivi, a prize whippet, somehow escaped its kennel at John F. Kennedy airport while being loaded onto a Delta airliner after The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Delta paid owner Jill Walton $2,800 (the fee that it was paying at the time for lost luggage), though the dog was estimated to be worth $20,000. Vivi was never recovered.    

In an attempt to prevent Paco from suffering the same fate, Allen has started an online petition, urging Delta to continue to search for the lost dog.

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