Dog found dead in carrier during Delta Air Lines layover

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ROMULUS, Mich. — Delta Air Lines is investigating the death of an 8-year-old dog during a layover at Detroit Metropolitan Airport, en route from Phoenix to Newark, New Jersey. The Pomeranian, named Alejandro, was found dead Wednesday morning in its carrier in a cargo facility at the airport, southwest of Detroit in Romulus.

In a statement, Delta said it is “conducting a thorough review of the situation to ensure this does not happen again and have been working directly with Alejandro’s family to support them however we can.”

It added, “As part of that review, Delta offered to have Alejandro evaluated by a veterinarian while in our possession to find out more about why this may have occurred. We are disappointed that we were not allowed to have a necropsy performed immediately following this unfortunate situation. The family now has Alejandro and we continue to offer our support.”

There were at least 4 dog deaths while in the care of U.S. airlines this year. 

In 2017, according to data from the Department of Transportation, out of the 506,994 animals transported by U.S. airlines, there were 24 pet deaths, 15 injured and one loss. Eighteen of the dead and 13 of the injuries were on United. Delta had two deaths and one injury.  

This year, in February, a bulldog died of unknown causes on Hawaiian Airlines, and in March, a German Shepard died of natural causes a Delta flight. And a dog died in the overhead bin on a United flight in March.

In May, United said it would no longer accept 21 breeds of dogs and four breeds of cats considered high-risk due to respiratory issues. The affected breeds include boxers, pugs and Boston terriers. American, Delta, and other airlines had already refused to ship those breeds.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that the dog had died in cargo hold. In fact, Delta says the dog was found unresponsive during a layover as it was being transferred to a connecting flight. The story has also been corrected to note that the owners of the animal were not on the flight. 

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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