A 21-year-old says that she was forced to flush her emotional-support animal, a hamster named Pebbles, down a toilet because of a mix-up with an airline.
Yes, Belen Aldecosea said that she called Spirit Airlines to ensure that her pet dwarf hamster Pebbles would be allowed on her flight as an emotional-support animal. Instead, she says, when she arrived at the airport, they refused to allow Pebbles on the flight, and someone told her to flush the poor animal.
Spirit Airlines denies her account, saying that no airline representative suggested that she should flush the hamster, but they acknowledge that she was mistakenly told that she could bring the hamster on the plane.
“Our reservation representative, unfortunately, did misinform the guest that a hamster was permitted to fly as an emotional-support animal on Spirit Airlines,” said an airline spokesperson.
Aldecosea says she followed through with the act in order to get on the plane because she was flying for medical reasons. She used an airport toilet.
“She was scared. I was scared. It was horrifying trying to put her in the toilet,” Aldecosea said, according to the Miami Herald. “I was emotional. I was crying. I sat there for a good 10 minutes crying in the stall.”
Pebbles was certified by Aldecosea's doctor as a comfort animal, and she had a letter saying so.
Spirit Airlines responded to the story from its official Twitter account, saying, "To be clear, at no point did any of our agents suggest this guest (or any other for that matter) should flush or otherwise injure an animal."
To be clear, at no point did any of our agents suggest this guest (or any other for that matter) should flush or otherwise injure an animal.
— Spirit Airlines (@SpiritAirlines) February 8, 2018
Aldedosea said that she felt it was more humane to end the hamster's life herself than set her free only to be run over by a car.
She says she is considering a lawsuit against the airline.