Woman says airline told her to flush hamster ahead of flight

11 February, 2018, 05:27 | Author: Lora Ball
  • GettyImages-117104998

She said she refused. After arriving at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport on november 21, everything seemed to be going as planned until a Spirit Airlines employee approached her saying the animal was not allowed, Goodman says.

Of course, it's unquestionable that Spirit Airlines' incompetence in first assuring Aldecosea that she could board with her hamster, then rescinding that permission, sparked this entire heartbreaking chain of events. "It was either I let her out into the street to get squished and bloody before my eyes, or she gets eaten by some animal". Her friends were hours away at campus, so she could not ask them to pick Pebbles up. She tried to rent a auto, failed, and claims that an airline staffer recommended she either release the hamster outside or flush it. "This is a really tiny, small innocuous animal that doesn't cause problems".

"She was scared. I was scared. It was horrifying trying to put her in the toilet", Aldecosea said. "I sat in a stall for about 15 minutes and just cried and cried". That might seem like nothing more than a jokey headline, or downright clickbait, but for 21-year-old college student Belen Aldecosea, it was a real-world dilemma, with life-and-death implications for her emotional-support animal.

Derek Dombrowski, a spokesman for the airline, said "at no point" did any agents or anyone else suggest Ms Aldocosea should flush her hamster down a toilet.

Aldecosea's attorney, Adam Goodman, said her story is not like the emotional support peacock.

Ms Aldocosea claims someone from Spirit suggested flushing the hamster down the toilet. "This must have been a horrific, terrifying death", PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch told Fox News.

So far, it does not appear that the student is facing any charges.

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Allowing hamsters on flights is up to individual airlines, as is any guideline around allowing animals on board of airplanes, a TSA representative said to the Herald.

The airlines decide their own policies for emotional support animals.

She bought Pebbles after going through a cancer scare while studying at Wilson College in Pennsylvania - and was flying home after withdrawing from school to have surgery on the benign tumor doctors had diagnosed.

And yes, the emotional-support animal in question was indeed a hamster, Pebbles, a dwarf hamster, small enough to fit in Aldecosea's hand.

"She was so loving".

"This wasn't a giant peacock that could pose a danger to other passengers", Goodman said. Dombrowski added that the airline offered Aldecosea a voucher, but never heard back from her. They are, in theory, allowed on planes - despite the fact that service animals such as guide dogs may be refused.

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