Student allegedly flushes emotional support hamster, then blames airline


She told the newspaper she called Spirit Airlines to make sure Pebbles-her pet dwarf hamster who is certified by her doctor as an emotional support animal -was okay to accompany her home.

In her account to the Herald, Aldecosea says tried everything imaginable, including renting a vehicle (she says there weren't any available) and reaching out to her friends (they were hours away back at school, she says).

Yet, when she touched base at the Baltimore- Washington International Airport on November 21, staff disclosed to her she couldn't board with Pebbles.

Aldecosea says she emailed Spirit to complain after the incident and the airline offered her a voucher for a free flight to specific cities, which she declined. The airline said yes, according to the Miami Herald.

"She was scared. I was scared. It was horrifying trying to put her in the toilet", the 21-year-old said.

'I was emotional. I was crying.

But Aldecosea said she's considering suing Spirit over the conflicting instructions that pressured her into making the decision.

"Their container would typically go through the X-ray while the owner would hold the hamster as the passenger walks through the metal detector so the creature is not subjected to radiation", TSA spokeswoman Sari Koshetz told the Miami Herald.

Goodman said this obviously wasn't what Aldecosea wanted to do, but having adults tell her it was OK compounded the situation.

Having to say goodbye to your beloved pet when you're flying home is heartbreaking enough, but you have to feel sorry for one "emotional support hamster" who ended up being more than left behind.

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Spirit Airlines hit back hard against Belen Aldecosea's claim that she had no choice but to kill her "emotional support animal" Pebbles in order to get home to her family in Florida.

A spokesman for Spirit admitted that Aldecosea was at first mistakenly told Pebbles could fly, but denied an employee recommended the hamster be flushed.

Nevertheless, the US Transportation Safety Administration has no problem with carry-on hamsters.

Guidance states: 'Hamsters are welcome in our checkpoint.

"Rodents of any kind are not allowed on board for health and safety reasons".

She said the alternative would have been to set Pebbles free to roam the unsafe streets of Baltimore - where crime drama The Wire is set.

The incident stemmed from a miscommunication between Aldecosea and Spirit.

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. But once she arrived the day of her flight, Aldecosea claims the airline told her a different story.

Aldecosea exchanged her ticket for a later flight to buy herself some time and come up with a plan.

Emotional-support animals - and what rights passengers have to bring them on planes - have been a nagging issue for airlines. I didn't have any other options.