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Dog Abuse

Dog Dies in Kennel During Delta Airlines Layover

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A family’s beloved Pomeranian was found dead in his kennel during a layover in Detroit while in the care of Delta Airlines.


Michael Dellegrazie and his girlfriend were traveling with their dog from Phoenix to New York. Although Alejandro, their 8-year old Pomeranian, was small enough to ride in the cabin, the couple opted to have him travel in the plane’s cargo hold, assured that he would be well cared for.

During a layover at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport in Romulus, Alejandro was removed from the plane and kept in a Delta Airlines cargo holding center until it was time to board the second leg of his flight. It was during that layover that tragedy struck and Alejandro was dead.

“There was a stop in Detroit at approximately 6 o’clock in the morning,” said Dellegrazie’s attorney, Evan Oshan. “Alejandro was checked on. He was fine. Then approximately at 8 o’clock and 8:30 in the morning, the dog was again checked on, he was dead, and there was vomit in the cage, according to Delta.”

In a statement to ABC News, Delta Airlines said, “We know pets are an important member of the family and we are focused on the well-being of all animals we transport. 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.”

“I want to know what happened,” said Michael Dellegrazie. “The dog is not a pet. He’s a member of our family.”

The family suspects foul play led to Alejandro’s death. As required by Delta Airlines, his family had recently taken him to a veterinarian for a check-up. Alejandro was given a clean bill of health and cleared to fly.

When Dellegrazie picked up his dog’s body and belongings, the Delta Airlines cargo facility was under investigation and blocked off with caution tape, a video by WDIV showed. Dellegrazie said he found vomit and blood stains on his dog’s blanket.

“He was in their care and they didn’t take care of him,” Dellegrazie said. “When he landed here in Michigan, he was alive at 6:30 a.m., and then at 8:20, he wasn’t moving and it just doesn’t make any sense to me.”

Delta Airlines offered to take the dog’s body to a veterinarian to determine the cause of death, but the family decided to take Alejandro for an independent necropsy. At this time, it is still unclear what caused the dog’s death.

Dellegrazie’s attorney, Evan Oshan, is the same attorney that represented the family of a 9-month-old French Bulldog puppy, Kokito, who died after a United Airlines flight attendant ordered him to be stowed in an overhead bin where he suffocated in March.

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