Woman flushed emotional support hamster down toilet after Spirit Airlines banned it

Belen Aldecosea holds her pet hamster Pebbles

Belen Aldecosea holds her pet hamster Pebbles

Belen Aldecosea, 21, was flying home to Miami, Florida from college when she says her emotional support animal - a hamster, I remind you - was denied passage on a flight by employees of USA airline Spirit.

Belen Aldecosea, right, says Spirit Airlines pressured her to flush Pebbles, her pet hamster, down an airport toilet.

After realizing she had no other options (I mean, there were plenty of other options than sticking an animal in a toilet, but I digress) Aldecosea decided that sending Pebbles to her watery grave would be more humane than letting her run free only to die from hunger, or to be hit by a vehicle.

Aldecosea's attorney, Adam Goodman, acknowledges there isn't audio or video proof showing a Spirit employee suggesting she flush her hamster, but he believes his client. "It was like she knew I needed somebody".

'I was emotional. I was crying. "I sat there for a good 10 minutes crying in the stall", she added.

The case comes just weeks after the story of a woman being denied passage of her emotional support peacock by United Airlines went viral. An airline representative ultimately suggested that Aldecosea either let Pebbles run free or flush the rodent down a toilet, a claim the airline vehemently denies.

Aldecosea said she e-mailed the airline to complain and they offered her a voucher for a free flight to certain cities, which she declined. "It is incredibly disheartening to hear this Guest reportedly made a decision to end her own pet's life".

Aldecosea was traveling home after a semester at Wilson College in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, the Miami Herald reported.


"One phone call could have saved this animal, or some kind person at the airport could have helped".

"She was scared. I was scared".

Spirit Airlines has admitted the members of staff who told her Pebbles would be able to tag along were wrong to do so, but denied that Ms Aldecosa was advised to flush her down the toilet. Our records indicate she was scheduled to take the 10:39 am flight on November 21, but ended up taking the 7:42 pm flight that day. She says she tried to book a rental vehicle with six different companies but did not have any success.

But Sari Koshetz, a spokeswoman with the U.S Transportation Safety Administration (TSA), said the TSA doesn't have an issue with carry-on hamsters.

However, it is up to individual airlines to decide whether they allow the rodents on board.

Aldecosea is now considering filing a lawsuit against the company for the alleged miscommunication, which resulted in her flushing Pebbles, which she says her doctor designated as an emotional support animal.

Aldecosea, a Miami Beach High graduate, insists her hamster was a medically certified emotional support animal, which she got after developing a large but benign growth in her neck previous year.

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