A dog died during a Delta flight and its owner is accusing the airline of attempting a cover-up

A dog died during a Delta flight and its owner is accusing the airline of attempting a cover-up

Delta Boeing 757

Reuters/Tami Chappell

A Delta Boeing 757.

  • Delta Air Lines has been accused of attempting to cover up the death of his pet dog that was being shipped from Phoenix to Newark, New Jersey.
  • The dog, a Pomeranian named Alejandro, was found dead last Wednesday at a cargo facility during a layover in Detroit.
  • Alejandro's owners were not traveling with the dog.

The owner of a dog that died following a Delta flight accused the airline of attempting to cover up the incident by washing away potential evidence.

According to the dog's owner, Michael Dellegrazie, the items that traveled with his Pomeranian, Alejandro, were wet when they were returned.

"I couldn't figure out why they were all wet. The only explanation I could find was they were washed. It was a cover-up, something to that effect - it just didn't feel right," he said during an interview with Good Morning America.

However, a source familiar with the situation refuted Dellegrazie's claim and told Business Insider that the dog and its accompanying items were not washed. In addition, the source said that any moisture is likely the result of condensation from the ice used to keep Alejandro cool during the two and half days it took the owner to pick up the corpse.


Alejandro died at a Detroit Metropolitan Airport jet cargo facility last Wednesday following a flight from Phoenix, Arizona to Detroit. The Pomeranian was found dead shortly before it was due to be loaded onto a Newark, New Jersey-bound flight.

In a statement to Business Insider, Delta Air Lines said it is "conducting a thorough review of the situation to ensure this does not happen again," and pledged to support Alejandro's family in any way it can.

Dellegrazie has also retained the services of Evan Oshan, the attorney who also represented the family whose dog died on board a United Airlines flight after being stored in an overhead compartment.

The dog's owner and his girlfriend are relocating from Phoenix to the New York/New Jersey area. Neither was traveling with the dog. Instead, it was shipped as cargo.

Dellegrazie also questioned why Delta chose to notify his girlfriend instead of contacting him. However, it is Delta's procedure to contact the shipper when there is an incident involving cargo, according to the airline. Since Dellegrazie's girlfriend was the person who shipped Alejandro, she's the person who received the call.


Here's Delta's entire statement:

"Pets are an important member of the family and we are focused on the well-being of all animals we transport. Delta 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. 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."