Belen Aldecosea brought along her dwarf hamster Pebbles with her on a flight home from Baltimore to Miami
But when a Spirit Airlines worker told Aldecoseas that Pebbles couldn’t make the flight with her, the 21-year-old Texas State University student had to make a difficult choice. Aldecoseas spent hours trying to figure out how to get Pebbles with her and when she couldn’t come up with an alternative she was left only the option to flush her hamster down the toilet.
Aldecoseas is now considering suing Spirit Airlines
“She was scared. I was scared. It was horrifying trying to put her in the toilet,” she said. “I was emotional. I was crying. I sat there for a good 10 minutes crying.”
Airlines have recently become much more strict on emotional support animals starting with Delta and United Airlines which banned a peacock name Dex from boarding.
The new policy had to be in place, airlines said, because of unruly critters.
Spirit admits an employee incorrectly told Aldecosea that a hamster could travel along with her. But the airline vehemently denies that one of its workers told her to kill her tiny companion.
“After researching this incident, we can say confidently that at no point did any of our agents suggest this Guest … should flush or otherwise injure an animal,” Spirit spokesman Derek Dombrowski told The Washington Post in an email. “It is incredibly disheartening to hear this Guest reportedly decided to end her own pet’s life.”
Aldecosea says she came forward after the recent case of an emotional-support peacock being denied boarding on a United Airlines flight in New Jersey, and she’s considering suing Spirit over the emotional decision she claims the company forced her to make about Pebbles — who had been certified as a support animal by her doctor.
Photo: Courtesy of Belen Aldecosea