A 12-week old Yorkshire Terrier puppy named Sebastian has tragically died after flying on a Delta Airlines flight to meet his new family.
A spokesperson for Delta confirmed the incident to PEOPLE, saying in a statement, “Pets are an important member of the family, and we are focused on the well-being of all animals we transport.”
The representative added, “We extend our deepest condolences to Sebastian’s family and are conducting a thorough review of the situation to understand what happened.”
Cory Mcjimson — who purchased Sebastian for nearly $3,000 from a breeder in Ohio as a gift for his 5-year-old daughter — found the pup unresponsive in his crate when he went to pick him up at a Delta cargo area in the Los Angeles International Airport on Thursday night, according to TMZ, who was first to report the incident.
Mcjimson said the breeder had arranged for Sebastian to fly from Ohio to California with a stopover in Atlanta, Georgia. However, when he arrived at the airport around 6:30 p.m. to welcome the pooch, Mcjimson said that he found Sebastian not moving or breathing in his kennel.
The father told the online outlet that he believes the puppy was transported in the plane’s pressurized cargo hold during both of his flights. PEOPLE has not been able to confirm whether or not this is where the puppy was held during the flight.
He said he alerted Delta employees of Sebastian’s state after opening the carrier and the dog was immediately rushed to a nearby animal hospital. According to the Mcjimson, veterinarians tried to resuscitate Sebastian, but the pup was pronounced dead around 9 p.m.
Mcjimson told TMZ that Delta said they would be taking care of the necropsy and cremation of Sebastian.
According to the airline’s policy, live pets can be transported without a human companion present through Delta Cargo. The airline states that a two-hour connection is required for all animals and the person who booked the shipment must provide adequate food and water as well as a proper, well-ventilated kennel for the journey.
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On the Delta Cargo website, the airline cautions that animals may experience temperatures between 10°F (-12°C) and 85°F (29°C) for up to 45 minutes while on the ground at the airport.
“Delta complies with federal regulations, which state that we must offer food for dogs/cats less than 16 weeks of age every 12 hours and every 24 hours for those over 16 weeks of age,” it reads. “Water receptacles are filled at stopover locations.”
Sebastian’s death was not the first time a beloved pet has died while being transported on an airplane. In 2018, a French bulldog died after its carrier was placed in an overhead bin on a United Airlines flight.
Last year, a husky passed away on an 11-hour transatlantic flight from Amsterdam to Los Angeles.