A Florida woman — who is now a student at Texas State University — flushed her emotional support hamster down an airport toilet when it was not allowed to board a flight home.
Belen Aldecosea told the Miami Herald she bought Pebbles, a dwarf hamster, from a Pennsylvania Petco while she was going to school up there.
She had been suffering with a painful growth on her neck and was concerned that it may have been cancerous.
She was planning to fly home in November after she decided to withdraw from school and get the growth — which turned out was benign — removed. As she was preparing for the trip home, she called Spirit Airlines twice to ensure Pebbles could fly with her.
The airline in both of those phone calls said the hamster could travel with her, a claim Spirit confirmed.
However, when she got the Baltimore/Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport for her flight to Fort Lauderdale, Pebbles was turned away.
Spirit told the paper that the customer service representative was incorrect in saying that rodent could fly with Aldecosesa.
The woman said airline reps gave her two options: let her pet hamster loose outside or flush it down the toilet.
The paper says the 21-year-old spent hours trying to figure out what to do, noting that she had a letter from her doctor certifying the hamster’s emotional support validity.
She was too far away from Pennsylvania to have a friend take the hamster and wasn’t old enough to rent a car instead.
With her rescheduled flight boarding soon, the paper says the woman considered letting Pebbles free outside.
However, Aldecosea reasoned that it was more humane to kill the hamster immediately.
Down the toilet went Pebbles.
Now, Aldecosea is threatening to sue. She has hired a lawyer who told the Miami Herald the hamster was not a danger to other passengers, unlike a peacock that recently made the news.
Spirit Airlines denies its employees ever recommended a watery end for Pebbles the Hamster.
A spokesman said its agents would never suggest flushing or injuring an animal.
Aldecosea complained to the airline after her November flight. She says Spirit offered her a voucher for a free flight to certain cities, but she declined that offer.
Most airlines do not allow rodents on planes because of safety and health concerns.