FLORIDA - A college student is considering legal action against Spirit Airlines after she claims they wouldn’t let her emotional support hamster fly home to South Florida with her and told her to flush it down the toilet.
Belen Aldecosea, 21, says she checked twice with the airline to make sure her dwarf hamster, named Pebbles, would be allowed on the plane and they told her it wouldn’t be a problem.
When she arrived at the Baltimore airport, she says Spirit refused to let Pebbles fly. With no one to take care of her pet, she claims an employee suggested that she flush the animal down the toilet.
According to the Miami Herald, Aldecosea tried to rent a car but none were available and since she needed to fly home for a serious medical procedure, she decided to flush little Pebbles.
“She was scared. I was scared. It was horrifying trying to put her in the toilet,” Aldecosea said. “I was emotional. I was crying. I sat there for a good 10 minutes crying in the stall.”
Her lawyer, Adam Goodman, says she thought it would be better than releasing the animal out into the wild where it would’ve frozen to death.
Although Spirit admits that a “reservation representative, unfortunately, did misinform the guest that a hamster was permitted to fly as an emotional support animal,” they say no one ever told her to flush her pet down the toilet. The airline also says that they rebooked Aldecosea on a flight that took off 9 hours later “so she had time to find other accommodations for the animal.”
“It is incredibly disheartening to hear this guest reportedly decided to end her own pet’s life," said Spirit spokesman Derek Dombrowski.