A woman says Delta lost her dog. The airline is still looking for the dog.

It was almost time for Paula Camila Rodriguez to board her flight back to the Dominican Republic, but Delta Air Lines agents at her gate couldn’t find her dog, Maia.

Rodriguez, 25, arrived at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport with her 6-year-old Chihuahua mix on Aug. 18. But the Dominican Republic native was separated from her dog after problems with her tourist visa led to her being turned away at customs, Rodriguez said.

While spending the night in an airport detention center, Maia was supposed to stay at a Delta pet facility, an airline official told her. And they would be reunited before the first flight home the next day.

It was the last time she saw Maia.

Two days after returning home without her dog, a Delta agent said Maia broke her carrier in the middle of an active track while walking to the pet store on the night of August 18, according to Rodriguez. Airline employees ran after her, but Maia fled into a restricted airport area, Rodriguez said.

“It happened Friday and I found out Monday,” Rodriguez said, adding, “They knew my dog ​​was lost when I got on that plane, and they didn’t tell me. “

More than a week later, airline staff and local authorities are still searching for Maia at the world’s busiest airport. Delta flew Rodriguez’s mother to Atlanta to help search for the missing animal, bringing Rodriguez’s clothing to diffuse a familiar scent and recordings of Rodriguez calling for the animal, Rodriguez told the Washington Post in Spanish.

“Delta teams worked around the clock to locate and reunite this animal with the customer and we remain in contact with the customer to provide updates,” Delta spokesperson Morgan Durrant said in a statement. E-mail. “The people of Delta feel deeply concerned about the customer and the dog and we are committed to continuing our research efforts, working closely with the City of Atlanta Department of Aviation and other stakeholders .”

Airport officials are aware of Maia’s disappearance and “will continue to remain vigilant if she appears” while its operational teams conduct inspections of runways and airfields throughout the day, Andrew C. Gobeil said , airport spokesperson.

“If she is sighted, ATL personnel will attempt to capture her and return her to the airline and its owner,” Gobeil said in an email.

Maia entered Rodriguez’s life in 2017. She I found Maia in a box on the streets before Hurricane Maria crossed the Dominican Republic. The plan was to offer him shelter until the storm passed and later take him to an animal shelter, but Maia won Rodriguez’s heart. Since then, the two have been inseparable; Rodriguez never had to use a leash with her, she said. They share a love for exploring, hiking and even go surfing, if the waves aren’t too high, Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez and Maia boarded a Delta plane from Santo Domingo to Atlanta, a stopover before California, their final destination, on August 18. Rodriguez wanted Maia – who had never flown before – to accompany him on the trip to California to visit friends. She paid Delta to have Maia, her emotional support dog, fly with her in a soft carrier under the seat in front of her, Rodriguez said.

When she arrived in Atlanta, Rodriguez said customs officials told her she had obtained the wrong type of visa. Maia had to remain separated from Rodriguez while she remained in the detention center, but a Delta agent assured her that Maia would be safe in the pet facility, Rodriguez said. There he would be given water and food before the flight home the next day.

On the morning of August 19, Rodriguez became concerned when Delta agents at the gate could not find Maia despite several calls. She missed the first flight and agreed to take the next flight if it meant an extra hour for Delta to find Maia, Rodriguez said.

“Don’t worry,” a Delta agent told him at the gate, Rodriguez recalled. “They are looking for your dog in different departments. I’m sure they’ll find her soon.

When she arrived in the Dominican Republic Without hearing from Maia, Rodriguez called the airline to file a missing pet claim. For two days, Rodriguez said, she struggled to get updates over the phone with airline representatives. She has since hired a pet rescue specialist and urged the airline to use food traps and K-9 dogs in the search.

“I’m not going to rest until I find her,” Rodriguez said. “They can do better. They were able to hide the fact that my dog ​​had been lost for over 48 hours and how she got lost. This is simply inhumane.


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