Nala, a German Shepherd that ran off last month while being transferred between Delta Air Lines flights in Atlanta, was found dead on a nearby highway.
“It’s been devastating,” Nala’s dog mom, Alisa Miller, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
On December 22, Miller was flying with Nala and her other dog, a Beagle, from San Diego, Calif., to Frankfurt, Germany, to live with her husband, Brian, a U.S. Army officer stationed there. The Beagle made it safely to Frankfurt.
According to 11alive.com, Delta spokeswoman Susan Elliott said in a written statement that Nala escaped out of the top of her airline-supplied crate while it was on the tarmac at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.
“There are teeth marks where she was chewing on the plastic to create the opening,” Elliott said.
Miller found it difficult to believe that Nala chewed her way out of the crate.
“The top of it was cracked as if it had been dropped, and the hole is not big enough for my dog to get out of,” she told 11alive.com.
When Delta informed her that her dog was missing, Miller flew back to Atlanta to look for Nala. Volunteers continued the search for nearly two weeks after Miller returned to Germany.
A construction worker found Nala’s body alongside highway I-75 on December 31. She had apparently been hit by a car. Delta will donate $1,000 to Atlanta Pet Rescue in Nala’s memory.
Nala was not the only dog who did not make it safely to her destination on Delta Air Lines last year. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, more than 20 dogs died, were injured or got lost. Many of them were short-snouted breeds like Bulldogs and Pugs.
An Army family stationed in Germany told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that their Bulldog did not survive a Delta flight from Stuttgart to Seattle two months ago. Last May, Paco, a dog belonging to a Canadian college student, escaped from his crate at the Mexico City airport. Paco has not been found.
Miller told 11alive.com that while she doesn’t plan to sue Delta Air Lines, she won’t do business with them again.
“It’s just really hard for it to end this way,” she said. “I just have a tremendous amount of guilt that I trusted these people with my dog.”