Tell Delta Airlines to PLEASE FIND Paco!

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 AeroM%uFFFDxico 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.

When 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.

June 4, 2010


Mr. Richard H. Anderson

CEO Delta Airlines

Delta Airlines Inc.

1030 Delta Boulevard

Dept. #940

Atlanta, GA 30320-6001

Dear Mr. Anderson:

We, the undersigned, represent a group of Defenders of Animal Rights in Mexico who have been active in the search for ¨Paco¨ , the dog whose disappearance is the subject of the Care2 online petition entitled %u201CTell Delta Airlines to PLEASE FIND PACO.%u201D  We were approached early in May by the dog%u2019s  Canadian rescuer/owner and asked to assist in the search, citing that Delta Airlines at the International Airport in Mexico City had been unable to recover the animal, after his escape  on May 3rd from Delta ground personnel and ultimately from the airport property.

After several failed attempts to contact Station Manager Raquel Torres to offer our assistance in a coordinated search, we established contact with the Office of the Assistant Director of Security at the AICM, to obtain detailed information about the accident, and the exact escape route followed by Paco.  We  were surprised to learn that Delta Airlines had never registered the incident with Security Officials nor with the airport crew specialized in the capture of live animals on airport property.  In Mexico there is federal and local legislation that protects animals from abusive acts and negligence, and sanctions those responsible in an exemplary manner.  Innumerable cases of animal death, injury, theft and disappearance occur within our airport facilities each year, and once reported these cases may be sanctioned under federal law, independent of civil suits which may arise and consumer rights liability.

We recognize that Paco´s case is one of many accidents involving live animals each year under airline responsibility, and that this particular accident,  with an uncontained animal free to access the tarmac,  presented an important security risk not only for the airport but also for airline passengers due to negligence in the reporting of the incident by Delta personnel.  Consequently,  we presented this case before the AICM´s  Committee of Operations at their monthly meeting on June 1, and asked the Commander of the General Direction of Civil Aeronautics, the highest authority at the airport, to open a full investigation into Delta´s responsibility and mishandling of the accident.  Delta Airlines did not accept the invitation to attend the monthly meeting.

As Defenders of Animal Rights, we have a moral obligation to make recommendations in order to correct faulty practices in the handling of live animals by airline and airport personnel, and to inform the public of the inherent risks involved in transporting companion animals by air carrier.  We ask Delta Airlines to be at the forefront of change in this sensitive area of service to customers, implementing greater security measures in all aspects of the airline%u2019s handling of live animals.  We also ask Delta Airlines in Mexico to now take a proactive, visible approach to the search for Paco throughout the areas in close proximity to the point from which he escaped airport property.  This action could serve to improve the image of Delta Airlines for many of the concerned individuals who have taken the time to sign the enclosed petition.

Thank you Mr. Anderson for your consideration and your attention to this matter.


Marna Rojas  Happy Tails Un Mundo Mejor Para Los Animales A.C.

Gustavo Larios AMEDEA

Monique Pouchet Grondin  ARCAIRIS

Antemio Maya Pindter Protección  Perro Callejero

Sandra Segovia  Spokesperson APASDEM (Representing over 80 Animal Protection Associations in Mexico)

Ana Lorena Pulido VOAPROA


Cc: Capt. Jorge Barrón Garcia, Comandante Dirección General de la Aeronáutica Civil AICM     

       Lic. Ruben Cruz Sanchez, Subdirector de Seguridad AICM

       Raquel Torres, Station Manager Delta, Mexico City

       Anderson Cooper CNN Headquarters Atlanta

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