Dog Dies While on Delta Airlines Flight

When a couple moving from Phoenix to New York arrived at the airport in Newark, New Jersey, they were horrified to find their beloved dog Alejandro dead on Wednesday.

Michael Dellegrazie and his girlfriend put their Pomeranian in a kennel in a Delta Airlines flight's cargo hold. When they arrived, the dog was found dead in his cage.

"I want to know what happened," Dellegrazie told ABC News. "The dog is not a pet. He's a member of our family."

According to TMZ, the flight had a stopover in Detroit. When the plane landed there, the 8-year-old Alejandro was still alive. However, the site's sources say the dog died while he was transferred to the connecting flight to Newark.

The cause of death is still unknown, and Delta told TMZ it is investigating the case. Airline representatives said they are working with Alejandro's owners and offered them a free necropsy to determine the cause of Alejandro's death.


"We know pets are an important member of the family and we are focused on the well-being of all animals we transport," Delta said in a statement to ABC News. "Delta is conducting a thorough review of the situation and have been working directly with Alejandro's family to support them however we can. As part of that review, we want to find out more about why this may have occurred to ensure it doesn't happen again and we have offered to have Alejandro evaluated by a veterinarian to learn more."

Evan Oshan, the attorney for Alejandro's family, told TMZ Delta has been telling people to check their dogs in the cargo hold to avoid confusion with service dogs at the gate. Delta disputes this, noting it was Alejandro's owners who decided to put the dog in a kennel.

This is just the latest controversy for the commercial airliners involving dogs. In March, United Airlines came under fire when a flight attendant forced a family to keep their dog Tokio in an overhead compartment during a 10-hour flight. When the family arrived at their destination, the dog was found dead.

"This was a tragic accident that should have never occurred, as pets should never be placed in the overhead bin," United Airlines said in response to the online outrage. "We assume full responsibility for this tragedy and express our deepest condolences to the family and are committed to supporting them. We are thoroughly investigating what occurred to prevent this from ever happening again."

United later changed its pet policy to make sure nothing like that ever happens again.

In another case, a 10-year-old German Shepard wound up on a United Airlines flight to Japan while his family landed in Kansas. Days later, a United flight was rerouted after a family's dog was put on a plane to St. Louis instead of Akron, Ohio.

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In 2017, 24 of the 506,994 animals transported on U.S. airlines died, according to the Department of Transportation.

Photo credit: ABC News