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

Gladys Abbott
February 9, 2018

A college student from Florida claims she was forced to flush her emotional support hamster down the toilet after a Spirit Airlines employee allegedly suggested it was one of the only ways she would be allowed to board a flight home.

A Spirit airlines spokesperson did acknowledge the airline had originally told Aldecosea that she could bring her pet hamster on board, but that it had been a mistake and they informed her shortly thereafter that the airline didn't allow hamsters.

Unable to bring the hamster with her but needing to get home to deal with a medical issue, Aldecosea said an airline representative suggested she either set Pebbles free outdoors or flush her down the toilet.

But Spirit doesn't let rodents on its flights, which a Spirit employee told Aldecosea before she went through security at Baltimore-Washington International Airport. She said she had no friends or family in town to pick up Pebbles.

Aldecosea claimed to the Herald that a representative with Spirit Airlines suggested she flush her pet down the toilet, a claim Spirit Airlines has denied.

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. She said she considered it more humane to end her life right away, and not let her run around scared in the cold, only to die getting hit by a auto.

Spirit admits an employee initially incorrectly told her the hamster would be allowed to fly with her.

"I was scared. It was horrifying trying to put her in the toilet".

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"It is incredibly disheartening to hear this guest reportedly made a decision to end her own pet's life", Dombrowksi's statement continued.

And, claiming she had no other options, Aldecosea says she did just that.

Airline passengers have raised concerns in recent years over what some view as exploitation of the concept of an emotional support animal, with a recent story about an "emotional support peacock" coming to mind.

Nevertheless, the US Transportation Safety Administration has no problem with carry-on hamsters. She was told Pebbles couldn't go with her.

The TSA notably will accommodate small animals like hamsters, but as the Herald pointed out, individual airlines are less lenient.

"I didn't have any other options", she said, the Herald reported.

Most major United States airlines, however, don't allow rodents on flights over concerns about health and safety.

"They gave me the wrong information a couple of times", Aldecosea said. She says Pebbles was a doctor-approved emotional support animal that helped her when she developed a growth in her neck that led to a cancer scare. She considered a Greyhound trip, but that would've been taken days.

Other reports by LeisureTravelAid

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