“I didn’t have any other options.”
Last month, an emotional support peacock named Dexter wasn’t allowed to board his flight from New Jersey to Los Angeles. So his owner decided to drive cross country with him instead.
Pebbles the emotional support hamster wished her owner had done the same. Instead, the pet was flushed down the toilet.
I literally can't survive without my beloved emotional support hamster!
Oh wait. I might miss my flight?
— Jim Meigs (@jamesbmeigs) February 8, 2018
Story goes, 21-year-old college student Belen Aldecosea tried to fly from Baltimore to Miami Beach back in November. She called Spirit Airlines twice and asked about bringing along her hamster, who even came with a doctor’s note.
The airline, according to Aldecosea, said it was ok.
At the airport, the two were able to check their bags in without fuss. A Spirit employee, however, chased them down and said that rodents weren’t allowed on the plane.
Aldacosea tried to search for other transport options. She tried to rent a car, but due to the busy Thanksgiving season, no vehicles were available. She considered taking the bus, but she needed to get to Florida on time for a medical procedure.
Pressed for time, and with no one to take Pebbles back to campus, the girl was allegedly told by a Spirit employee to set the rodent free outdoors or flush it down the toilet. Not wanting her pet to die slowly in the freezing cold, Aldacosea chose the latter.
“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 ten minutes crying in the stall.”
Social media is understandably furious after hearing about the incident.
Also, no human being in the world would tell you to FLUSH A LIVE ANIMAL DOWN A TOILET, airline employee or not. I don't believe this at all.
— Jules (@jules_su) February 8, 2018
I understand why people are mocking this story. However, after reading the article, I really feel badly for this girl. Spirit Airlines confirms she called the airline twice and was told both times it was okay for her hamster to travel with her. She though she had it covered 😟
— Shelby Conner (@t4mtumblr) February 8, 2018
Hey, kids born in the late 90s. Don't eat the laundry detergent. Don't flush your hamster down the toilet for any reason. Good luck out there!
— Bess Kalb (@bessbell) February 8, 2018
People are WAY overusing the #serviceanimal label. It's degrading to all of those with a real purpose for one.
Note: If you're willing to flush your #emotionalsupportanimal down the toilet, maybe you're one of those abusers.https://t.co/6zSYBruTZr
— Luke Skibba (@lukeskibba) February 8, 2018
Spirit Airlines has denied the student’s allegations that one of their employees suggested the cruel act. Derek Dombrowski, a company spokesperson said:
“After researching this incident, we can say confidently that at no point did any of our agents suggest this guest (or any other for that matter) should flush or otherwise injure an animal… It is incredibly disheartening to hear this guest reportedly decided to end her own pet’s life.”
He added: “We did offer the guest a voucher for the inconvenience, but we never heard back from her.”
Aldacosea now plans to sue Spirit for giving her “conflicting instructions,” which led to the hamster’s untimely death.
“This wasn’t a giant peacock that could pose a danger to other passengers,” Aledcosea’s attorney, Adam Goodman said. “This was a tiny cute harmless hamster that could fit in the palm of her hand.”