Something could have happened during the trip from a Missouri breeding kennel to a loving home in South Jersey that left a little pup fighting for life.
Acey was supposed to arrive around 2:30 Friday afternoon after a connecting flight through Atlanta. But after heavy winds delayed flights, Acey allegedly spent 13 hours bouncing from plane to plane while in her travel crate.
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"I was pretty appalled that a living creature could be thrown around like a piece of baggage from one plane to another and no one really tracked where it was," owner Dennis Hodgson exclusively told NBC Philadelphia.
Delta Airlines couldn't track down which connect cargo flight she was on and that she may have been waiting on the tarmac, Dennis said.
The flight from Atlanta was delayed and delayed. Other families were reportedly waiting for their pets too.
"They had no information on where these animals were -- we were beginning to doubt whether any of these dogs were on a cargo flight at this point or if they were just left somewhere in Atlanta airport and no one was finding them," Dennis said.
Once the Hodgsons got Acey things quickly took a turn for the worse.
"In a matter of what seemed like minutes, she just went downhill," said Christina Hodgson.
The Hodgsons took the Wheaton Terrier to a local animal hospital where she is in stable condition, but not out of the woods. Vets don't know exactly what's wrong.
"A stress like that where you're on the tarmac or you're at one flight or another and delayed… that does make it a little bit worse." Tri-State Animal Emergency Center Veterinarian Mark Magazu said.
Magazu says Acey was possibly sick to begin with and the trip exacerbated her condition or she could have picked up something en route. The tests are still out.
Delta Airlines admits that travel on Friday was touch and go and that the pets were taken from gate to gate -- not to a holding area -- because the expectation was to get on the next available flight.
“(Delta) takes very seriously its responsibility to transport live animals on behalf of all customers,” Delta spokesman Anthony Black said in a statement. “We have time-tested processes for ensuring safe transfer between hubs, but occasionally inclement weather can drive delays of scheduled passenger/cargo service.”
In the meantime the Hodgsons just hope Acey pulls through and comes home healthy.
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