Paula Rodriguez flew Delta Air Lines from Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic to Atlanta, intending to connect to San Francisco. Her dog traveled with her on the flight.
Though her paperwork was sufficiently in order for Delta to allow her to board in the Dominican Republic, U.S. Customs and Border Protection denied her entry to the U.S. in Atlanta.
- The government prepared to deport her, first sending her to sleep in a detention center.
- And her dog, that she rescued from the streets at one month old, wasn’t allowed to go with her.
Delta was ready to transport her back, as their obliged to do, but the dog was gone. Ms. Rodriguez cried, not wanting to take the flight without her dog, but the government forced her.
The next morning, last Saturday, Paula was ready to board her flight, but her precious cargo wasn’t there. And the airline she flew with, Delta, didn’t have answers.
“I was like, ‘I’m sorry, I can’t get on this plane, I don’t know where my dog is,’” said Rodriguez. “I was crying, I had panic attacks on the plane, I had to get on the plane because the U.S. Border Control told me, ‘Hey, we can’t have you here by law in this airport for more than 24 hours.’”
When Paula got back to the DR, Delta still didn’t have an update on where Maia was.
— Sergio Carlo (@sergiocarlo) August 22, 2023
@Delta your staff lost this dog in @ATLairport and no one seems to care. You are an evil inhumane corporation that does not provide any assistance or information on the whereabouts of this dog who was in YOUR custody. 2 days already and not one single @Delta staff has helped. pic.twitter.com/2CbIx3ztQD
— miguismalls (@miguismalls) August 21, 2023
A woman from the Dominican Republic says @Delta lost her dog when she was at the Atlanta airport. She says it took the airline days to tell her what happened and now she hasn’t heard updates on their search for Maia. We have the story at noon on @ATLNewsFirst. pic.twitter.com/ludyNm2txF
— Madeline Montgomery (@MadelineTV) August 22, 2023
Delta later informed her that the dog “broke out of her kennel” and was missing for two days. That’s when the airline’s communications stopped. According to a statement from the airline,
Delta teams have been working to locate and reunite this pet with the customer and we remain in touch with the customer to provide updates. Delta people feel deeply concerned for the customer and the dog and we’re committed to ongoing search efforts, working closely with the City of Atlanta Department of Aviation and other stakeholders.
The airport says they have no idea where the dog went, but promises to turn her over to Delta if she turns up.
It’s unclear why the passenger was refused admittance into the United States. The government, more or less, doesn’t need a reason. But surely separating passengers awaiting deportation from their dogs who were safe to travel on a plane with their own could be handled better by Customs and Border Protection.