Business

Student forced to flush emotional support hamster down toilet

Student forced to flush emotional support hamster down toilet

A Miami college student claims an airline employee suggested she flush her emotional support hamster down the a toilet after the airline refused to let the animal fly home with her in November 2017.

Belen Aldecosea, 21, of Miami Beach, Florida, told the Miami Herald that she contacted Spirit Airlines before her flight from Baltimore to South Florida on November 21, 2017, regarding traveling with her dwarf hamster, Pebbles.

But a second Spirit Airlines agent, she claims, sprinted toward her, shouting that rodents were not allowed and told her the hamster wasn't allowed in the cargo hold or as carry-on luggage. The student told The Miami Herald that an employee suggested she flush Pebbles down an airport toilet.

Aldecosea told the Miami Herald she was hours from friends who could help, wasn't able to rent a auto and taking a Greyhound bus would take days. A Spirit staffer, she claims, suggested she either let the hamster free outside, or flush her down a toilet.

The airline have since offered her a voucher for a free flight to certain cities, which Aldecosea declined.

Aldecosea said she ran through her options-rental auto agencies didn't have any availabilities, and the 21-year-old was too young to rent a vehicle anyway.

'To be clear, at no time did any of our operators recommend this visitor (or some other so far as that is concerned) should flush or generally harm a creature, ' representative Derek Dombrowski said.

When she turned up, however, Pebbles was not allowed on the plane.

She told the Herald that a Greyhound transport would have taken days to get to South Florida - and she needed to return home for a therapeutic arrangement. Aldecosea tried multiple times to get Pebbles back to her school safely. Goodman will represent Aldecosea should she decide to follow through with a lawsuit.

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Hours away from campus and with no other options, Aldecosea did something she never thought she would have to do.

Aldecosea's lawyer, Adam Goodman, sees the cases very differently however.

"Flushing a living being down the toilet is not only cruel but also illegal, and both the person who killed this animal and Spirit Airlines - if an employee did, in fact, advise the woman to drown the hamster - should be charged".

The U.S. Transport Safety Administration said hamsters were welcome through their security lanes.

The airline outlines its policy online, including that it does not allow snakes, other reptiles, rodents, ferrets or spiders.

Airlines are convinced that some emotional support animals abuse the rules, especially when most passengers often have to pay $125 or more each way to bring a small pet on board. Several airlines have recently tightened restrictions on such animals.

Emotional support animals have become a controversial issue for United States airlines over recent years.

But once at the airport, Pebbles was denied entry onto the flight.


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