Pomeranian Dog Dies on Delta Flight, Owner Alleges the Airline Is Covering Up Disturbing Details

Alejandro the dog's owner says the dog's body was returned with a bloody blanket and soaking wet personal belongings

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Michael Dellegrazie, his girlfriend and his Pomeranian Alejandro all planned to move cross-country together from Phoenix, Arizona, to Newark, New Jersey. Tragically, Alejandro never made it to the East Coast alive.

The 8-year-old dog, who was flying in the cargo hold of a Delta plane to his new home, died during a stopover in Detroit on Wednesday, reports WXYZ.

According to the ABC affiliate, the airline claims that a flight attendant checked on Alejandro during the stop and found him alive, but when another employee checked on the dog two hours later he was dead.

“To say they are distraught would be a gross understatement,” Dellegrazie’s attorney, Evan Oshan, who also represented Kokito’s owners after the French bulldog’s death on a United flight, told the station. “They are completely devastated.”

Dellegrazie is especially upset because he feels there is information the airline is withholding from him regarding his beloved pet’s death.

The owner told ABC News’ Good Morning America that he had trouble getting Alejandro’s body back from the airline, forcing him to hound the airline into reuniting him with his dog.

“We just wanted to get our dog back. That’s all we wanted,” Dellegrazie said on the morning show. His lawyer added that he felt that the airline was using a “bullying approach” he had seen before, and that arrangements weren’t made to return Alejandro’s body until Oshan sent Delta a “preservation of evidence letter.”

“We got Alejandro in a very odd way. There was this tug of war going on all day. Even after Alejandro was offered to be given back to us, there was a long wait, we didn’t know what the wait was,” Dellegrazie said on GMA.

It was finally agreed upon that the airline would bring the dog to the curb area of the airport. According to the dog’s owner, Alejandro was returned to him in a garbage bag along with other garbage bags and a Delta pet carrier. Reportedly, inside one bag was a blanket covered in blood. The owner said this was alarming and became even more so when he found that all of Alejandro’s other personal belongings were soaking wet, leading him to believe that the airline was trying to wash something away.

“It was at that point that I stopped the retrieval of the items and called for a criminal investigation. The area was completely taped off, and some of the items were marked, and some of those are with the Detroit Police Department,” Dellegrazie added.

The owner said he also has asked the FBI to look into airlines’ treatment of animals, to ensure that pets are treated like passengers as well. Alejandro’s body will undergo an independent necropsy to get answers on the dog’s cause of death.

When reached for comment about Alejandro’s death and Dellegrazie’s claims, a Delta spokesperson provided PEOPLE with the following 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.”

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