Pet dog found three weeks after it went missing at one of world’s busiest airports

Maia got lost at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport when the airport staff was taking her to a Delta flight on August 18

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Published: Mon 11 Sep 2023, 4:43 PM

A dog that went missing at the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, US, was found on Saturday. The 6-year-old dog, Maia, was found hiding near the North Cargo facilities of the airport in good health, according to media reports.

Maia got lost at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, considered to be the world’s busiest by passenger traffic, when the airport staff was taking her to a Delta flight on August 18. After nearly a month, Atlanta Airport, in a post on X, formerly Twitter, said that they found the dog on September 9.

“Maia, the dog who escaped onto the airfield at the world’s busiest airport, was recovered on September 9. ATL’s Operations team found her hiding near the North Cargo facilities,” Atlanta Airport wrote.

“Tired but in apparent good health, she was transported to a vet and is expected to return home soon” it added.

The dog’s owner, Paula Rodriguez, had a flight from the Dominican Republic to California where she was going for a vacation with Maia last month, reported CNN.

However, when Rodriguez landed at the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, where she had a layover, she was informed by the border police that her tourist visa was cancelled as it “did not meet the requirements”. Rodriguez was then told to return home on a flight the next day and spend the night in a detention centre, the report added.

Rodriguez said that the airport staff took Maia from her saying that she would be looked after at a facility. “He told me not to worry, that she’d be taken to a facility with staff trained for that. That they’d give her food and water and take care of her. It wasn’t my wish, but I understood. There was nothing I could do, and I trusted him,” she told CNN.

The staff told Rodriguez that her dog would be waiting for her the next day at the gate for their return flight. However, according to Rodriguez, the staff could not locate Maia, according to CBS News.

A Delta Air Lines representative told the outlet in an email that Maia escaped the carrier when the airport staff was “transporting the pet in the operations area outside of terminal buildings”.

Drake X. Castaneda, a spokesperson for the carrier company, said that the airline and local officials kept looking for the pet for weeks and Delta even helped Rodriguez reach Atlanta so that she could help in the search, reported The Washington Post.

The dog was finally found on Saturday, three weeks after it went missing. “We are thankful for the teamwork that has led to our customer’s dog’s recovery,” Castañeda told The Post.

“Delta is working to reunite the dog with our customer as soon as possible,” he added.


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