The dog, named Alejandro, owned by Michael Dellegrazie and his girlfriend, was found dead in his kennel in the cargo hold of the aircraft. A flight attendant told the owner to put him in the overhead bin rather than under the seat. He was reportedly being held in his carrier in a cargo facility.
A Delta Air Lines spokesman told Fox News the dog was seen in good health after the flight and brought to the staging area.
"I want to know what happened", Dellegrazie told ABC News.
"We lost a family member". According to the spokesperson, the dog was not transferred onto the flight from Detroit to Newark. Delta had two deaths and one injury.
The dog's owner, Michael Dellegrazie, told WDIV-TV, "When we landed here in MI, 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".
The airline offered to have a necropsy performed on Alejandro, though the dog is now in the family's possession.
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Delta released a statement saying they are conducting a thorough review of the incident.
Later that week, a flight was diverted to Akron, Ohio, after the airline realized a pet was loaded onto the flight in error, airline spokeswoman Maggie Schmerin told CNN. "I think this is the way that airlines, commercial airlines in general, treat people. The family now has Alejandro and we continue to offer our support", it added. Pets traveling in the airplane cabin are meant to be stowed under the seat in front of the owner.
However, there is happier news related to dogs and flying - some airports in the United Kingdom are now employing therapy dogs to help calm anxious flyers before they board planes.
In 2017, according to data from the Department of Transportation, out of the 506,994 animals transported by USA airlines, there were 24 pet deaths, 15 injured and one loss.