The Jack Russell terrier mix has been missing for days and his owner isn’t buying the airlines’ explanation of what happened

By Anthony Ramirez
Updated May 13, 2010 06:00 PM
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We’ve all been through the annoyance of luggage lost by an airline, or at least know someone who has. But this month Delta Air Lines lost Paco, a stray dog rescued by two young Canadian passengers. Eleven days later, the dog is still missing, somewhere near Mexico City.

Josiah Allen, who recently adopted the dog, isn’t buying Delta’s explanation of what happened to his new BFF. Delta told CNN that Paco, a sickly dog, somehow broke out of a hard plastic pet carrier with two locks and a metal wire door. He is then said to have run away on the tarmac and through a fence.

It all started on April 24 when Allen, 19, a student at the University of Waterloo, visited family friends in Puerto Vallarta. His girlfriend, Erin Docking, 18, accompanied him.

One evening, a skinny dog, who seemed to be part “wiener dog” and part Jack Russell terrier, followed Josiah and Erin on the beach and curled up at their feet.

“Me and Erin went swimming and he was still there waiting,” Josiah recalls in an interview with PEOPLEPets.com. They named the dog Paco.

The stray was covered in ticks and had an infected eye. Still, Erin wanted to take the dog home to Canada.

So, the couple took the dog to a local veterinarian. Paco was checked for worms, his eye treated, and given two baths to remove ticks. The vet gave Josiah a certificate of health that he could show customs officials.

Josiah bought a pet carrier for Paco, who is a little larger than a briefcase, and paid Delta the $200 pet transport fee.

The Aero Mexico flight from Puerto Vallarta to Mexico City seemed uneventful, so did the Delta flight to Detroit, where Erin and Josiah were then going to drive to their hometowns in Ontario. But when they went to Delta’s pickup area for pets, there was no Paco. Two hours passed. Finally, they were told he was still in Mexico City. The dog would be flown on the next available flight and then taken to Josiah in Seaforth, his hometown.

Several days passed. Still no Paco. Delta offered compensation but told Josiah little, he says. So, he started a Facebook page called “Delta Loses Dog” and told The Consumerist website and The Detroit News about Paco.

On May 12, CNN’s Anderson Cooper covered the story and quoted “a source with the airline” who said that the dog escaped on the tarmac. Ramp agents chased him but he escaped through a fence. Employees “then drove for several hours through a neighborhood near the airport attempting to locate the dog.”

Josiah is furious. “They told that to CNN but they have not been in contact with me,” he tells PEOPLEPets.com.

Susan Chana Elliott, a Delta spokeswoman, confirmed to PEOPLEPets.com that Paco escaped, whereabouts still unknown, and that Delta customer service officials “have been in contact with Mr. Allen every day.”

Could Paco have run away? “It doesn’t seem like him, no,” Josiah says. “And he’s not a big dog, you’d think he’d be easy to catch.”

Click here to join Josiah’s group on Facebook.

What do you think happened to Paco? Tell us in the comments below!