A dog on a cross-country flight was found dead in its cage upon arriving at its destination airport on Wednesday, according to the pet's owners and the airline.
"I want to know what happened," said Michael Dellegrazie who with his girlfriend owned the Pomeranian named Alejandro. "The dog is not a pet. He's a member of our family."
Alejandro was sent on a Delta Airlines flight from Phoenix to Newark, New Jersey, where the couple is moving. The dog traveled in a kennel in the cargo hold of the jet.
"There was a stop in Detroit at approximately 6 o'clock in the morning," said Dellegrazie's attorney, Evan Oshan. "Alejandro was checked on. He was fine. Then approximately at 8 o'clock and 8:30 in the morning, the dog was again checked on, he was dead, and there was vomit in the cage, according to Delta,"
In a statement to ABC News, Delta said, "We know 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 and have been working directly with Alejandro's family to support them however we can. As part of that review, we want to find out more about why this may have occurred to ensure it doesn't happen again and we have offered to have Alejandro evaluated by a veterinarian to learn more."
In 2017, 506,994 animals were transported on U.S. airlines, and of those, 24 died, according to Department of Transportation figures.
One recent case that got a lot of attention was in March when a dog died on a United Airlines flight after it was put in its carrier into an overhead bin. The pet's owners alleged that a flight attendant knew a dog was in the carrier when she told them to put it in the overhead bin. United said the attendant had not heard the passengers' telling her about the dog. After the incident, United said it was starting a new policy of issuing bright-colored tags to passengers traveling with pets.