Today in cute animal news, a college student from Miami claims a Spirit Airlines employee suggested that she flush her emotional support hamster down a toilet when she wasn't allowed to fly with it. And she did it.
From the Miami Herald:
Before Belen Aldecosea flew home from from college to South Florida, she twice called Spirit Airlines to ensure she could bring along a special guest: Pebbles, her pet dwarf hamster. No problem, the airline told her.
But when Aldecosea arrived at the Baltimore airport, Spirit refused to allow the tiny animal on the flight.
With her only friends hours away at campus, Aldecosea was stuck. She says an airline representative suggested flushing Pebbles down an airport toilet, a step that Spirit denies. Panicked and needing to return home promptly to deal with a medical issue, Aldecosea unsuccessfully tried renting a car and agonized for hours before doing the unthinkable.
She flushed Pebbles.
She flushed Pebbles!!! What the fuck?!?! Even if hamsters are just fuzzy mice with no goals or global perspective, you still shouldn't flush them!!! Drowning is a horrible way to die. If you've got to get rid of a hamster quick, break its neck like a chicken. DUHH.
In an added twist, Aldecosea actually had a letter from her doctor certifying that Pebbles was an emotional support animal, which Aldecosea told the Herald she got after a recent cancer scare. While TSA allows hamsters to fly, airlines can ban certain animal species, and Spirit, along with American, Delta, and United, has opted not to allow rodents like Pebbles on board.
A spokesman for Spirit denies that anyone at Spirit suggested that she flush Pebbles down the toilet.
“Our reservation representative, unfortunately, did misinform the guest that a hamster was permitted to fly as an emotional support animal on Spirit Airlines,” the spokesperson told the Miami Herald. “Rodents of any kind are not allowed on board for health and safety reasons.”
Aldecosea is reportedly considering filing a lawsuit against the airline. "This wasn’t a giant peacock that could pose a danger to other passengers," Aledcosea's attorney told the Herald. "This was a tiny cute harmless hamster that could fit in the palm of her hand."