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Passenger’s dog found weeks after it escaped, ran off on Atlanta airport tarmac

A dog who weeks ago escapedat Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport was recovered on Saturday, the airport said in a social media post.

Maia was found by an operations team hiding near the airport’s North Cargo facilities, the airport said. She’s since been taken to a veterinarian for treatment.

Maia’s owner had been on a Delta flight when the dog vanished during a layover in Atlanta. The passenger, Paula Rodriguez, posted in a Facebook group called “Atlanta Area Lost and Found Pets” with a plea for help after she said she lost her dog on Aug. 18.

“For 2 straight days I have not received any information whatsoever on her whereabouts, and just today I received info from Delta that she escaped her kennel on the airport ramp and that airport staff was looking for her,” Rodriguez wrote on Aug. 21, sharing a photo of Maia.

Following Maia’s disappearance, Robin Allgood, who works to find lost dogs, put up flyers around the airport, she told CBS News’ David Begnaud. Allgood said she went to the airport Saturday after she got a call from someone who said they saw Maia.

She said the pup was under a rack used to move big cargo containers around the airport. According to Allgood, after a wildlife biologist failed to get Maia with a net, people were standing around talking about how they could get the dog out from under the rack.

“And I thought ‘you know what? Y’all aren’t getting her, I am.’ So I just started scooting on my back under the rack and nobody even knew I was under there and I just reached and grabbed her and then somebody said ‘Oh my gosh, she’s got her,'” Allgood told Begnaud.

Allgood said she spoke with Rodriguez and assured her that Maia was in good shape. Rodriguez had not yet posted about Maia being found as of Sunday evening.

Delta previously told CBS News that the specifics of how and why the dog went missing were still being investigated. Rodriguez, who said she was flying to San Francisco from the Dominican Republic with a layover in Atlanta, claimed her tourist visa wasn’t approved by border officials and she had to spend the night at a detention center as she awaited the next flight back home.

Maia was not allowed to stay with her at the detention center, Rodriguez said. A Delta representative later confirmed U.S. Customs and Border Patrol does not allow cabin pets — those who traveled on the plane in a carrier under the seat — at their detention facility.

A Delta agent took the pet and, Rodriguez said, and staff told her the dog would be waiting for her the next day at the gate.

When the dog wasn’t there, Rodriguez said the gate staff tried to locate Maia, but could not.

In an email to CBS News, a Delta representative confirmed the dog had escaped her carrier “while teams were transporting the pet in the operations area outside of terminal buildings.” Maia would have otherwise been returned to Rodriguez before her Customs and Border Protection-mandated flight, the spokesperson said.

Caitlin O’Kane contributed reporting.

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