A college student said Spirit Airlines told her to flush her pet hamster down the toilet because she would not be allowed on the plane with the tiny animal. Belen Aldecosea, 21, told her story on Thursday, and said the incident occurred while at the Baltimore-Washington International Airport as she was heading home to Miami Beach on November 21.
According to Fox News, Belen had called the airline twice to make sure she could take her pet dwarf hamster named Pebbles on the plane. She was allegedly told there would be no problem, but once at the airport the situation changed and not towards the benefit of tiny Pebbles.
Pebbles, by the way, was an “emotional comfort animal” and had been doctor certified. In Belen’s freshman year at Wilson College in Pennsylvania, she had a cancer scare and the tiny little furry creature had provided comfort to her.
“She was so loving. It was like she knew I needed somebody,” stated Belen.
And now it was only hours until Belen’s flight was to leave and even after having been ensured previously Pebbles could fly home with her, she didn’t know what to do. Belen ever rescheduled her flight trying to convince the airline to let the hamster fly in the cargo area. There was no one around to take custody of the hamster, and that’s when a representative for Spirit Airlines allegedly told Belen to flush the hamster down the toilet.
When Belen was too young to rent a car to drive home or find a bus headed her way, she did it. She thought about letting Pebbles outdoors, but stated she couldn’t bear thinking of the tiny animal freezing to death. Here are her words:
“It was horrifying trying to put her in the toilet. I was emotional. I was crying. I sat there for a good 10 minutes crying in the stall.”
Belen is considering suing Spirit Airlines for pressuring her into a decision after telling her Pebbles was able to fly home with her. Rodents of any kind are not allowed on board on Spirit even if they are emotional support animals. A Spirit Airlines stated Belen had been given the wrong information about the hamster accompanying her in the plane, however denies anyone would have told her to flush the tiny rodent.
The U.S. Transport Security Administration says hamsters are welcome at airports and are permitted to pass through security. Emotional support animals are companion animals, and typically most airline carriers allow the pets on board. Last week when a woman wanted to board a flight with her emotional peacock, the passenger was denied – but that bird posed a danger to other passengers. What in the world could a tiny hamster that could fit into the palm of a person’s hand be a danger to anyone Belen’s attorney asked?
What would you have done in a similar situation? Should Belen be charged with animal cruelty? Why didn’t she just call the nearest animal shelter – surely someone could have helped or called a local rescue organization?
Rest in peace little Pebbles. You certainly were failed by humans every step of the way.
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