A woman’s trip to San Francisco was sullied last week after she was informed that her dog broke out its kennel the night she was stopped and detained by US Customs agents- and the poor dog “must be so scared.”
Paula Rodriguez and her dog, Maia, were inseparable. Paula said she rescued Maia from the streets and has cared for her since she was one year old. That’s why the woman from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, decided to bring her dog along with her on the long journey to San Francisco, according to Atlanta News First . However, Paula would regret her decision just 24 hours later.
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US Customs and Border Protection officials at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport informed Paula that she didn’t meet the requirements to enter the US, she shared. Therefore, she had to spend the night at a detention centre and fly back to Santo Domingo the following morning. Paula was ready to board her flight home but someone was missing: Maia.
“I was like, ‘I’m sorry, I can’t get on this plane, I don’t know where my dog is,’” Rodriguez told Atlanta News First, “I was crying, I had panic attacks on the plane, I had to get on the plane because the US Border Control told me, ‘Hey, we can’t have you here by law in this airport for more than 24 hours.’”
Paula reluctantly boarded her flight home without her precious Maia. Delta still didn’t have any updates on Maia’s whereabouts when she returned to Santo Domingo. “I started making calls, I started making claims, nobody knew where she was.” A Delta representative called Paula about two days later to tell her that Maia had broken out her kennel the night the two were separated—she’s been missing ever since. That was the last call Paula had received from the airline, now she puts her faith in social media.
She recorded a video on X, formerly known as Twitter, in which she explains how stressed she and Maia were during the flight, adding that the dog had vomited on the way to the Atlanta airport. She calls Maia her emotional support animal and mentions that the agent promised to take care of her. The clip currently has about 7,000 views.
“She’s been missing for more than 72 hours in the biggest airport in the United States. Without food, without water, she must be scared,” she told the outlet.
Atlanta News First contacted Delta Airlines to inquire about the search. Andrew Gobeil, Senior Director for Communications, said Delta had sent teams of employees to scour the runways and airfields for Maia to no avail. He added that the airline would “remain vigilant” if Maia should appear anywhere. Contrary to Paula’s claim, Delta says it has been in contact with her about Maia and plans to continue the search. Delta Communications representative, Drake Casteneda, said:
“Delta people feel deeply concerned for the customer and the dog and we’re committed to ongoing search efforts, working closely with the City of Atlanta Department of Aviation and other stakeholders.”