A Minnesota woman claims Delta Airlines held her 8-month-old German Shepherd captive for 33 hours, refusing to release him until she forked over $3,000.
The “hostage” situation began last week, when Mary Nguyen hired Pet Air Carrier, a private company unaffiliated with Delta, paying it $3,000 to ship Bunny, her 8-month old German Shepherd to Central America, where her husband lives.
As part of the arrangement, Nguyen, 25, drove from Minneapolis, where she is a student, to Wisconsin to have the required paperwork endorsed, before sending the pup on his way on Wednesday.
But when Nguyen’s hubby tried to get Bunny out of cargo at La Aurora International Airport in Guatemala City, Delta balked, saying the necessary paperwork to take the animal to a new country had been left back in the US, Marketwatch reported.
Adding insult to injury, Nguyen claimed Delta agents demanded an extra $3,000 to free the pup, the site reported.
“They have all the documents they need on their scratch pad to release her but refuse to do so without the hard copy that they lost [but tracked down],” a distraught Nguyen told CBS. “The document has been in their possession the whole [time] since I’ve surrendered my dog over.”
Nguyen told the site it took 33 hours of dogged determination– and plenty of phone calls– to get Bunny sprung.
That happened late Friday, after the paperwork was finally located and dispatched to Guatemala.
Most countries require specific vaccinations and a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection before an animal is allowed to enter from abroad.
Bunny, who weighs 62 pounds, was an extra difficult case because of her size, Nguyen said. She needed an large crate, which is only allowed on certain aircraft. United Air Lines had previously rejected the dog before she was approved to fly on Delta.
Delta has had problems transporting pets in the past, with five animal deaths and five injuries in 2016, the second-highest rate of animal death and injury among the top seven domestic airlines.
United was No. 2, with nine deaths and 14 injuries. Earlier this year, one of the world’s biggest rabbits died in cargo on a United Airlines flight.
A Delta spokesperson told CBS News that the airline would refund the shipment cost.
Once the drama was behind them, the owners took to Instagram to update their pup’s page : “‘THANK YOU EVERYONE! Bunny has been released from @delta and we’re just waiting to be given the okay to be able to take her home now. Bunny’s got several open wounds on her, we will be taking her to a vet the minute we can.’”