Belen Aldecosea, 21, of Miami Beach, Florida, said she flushed her emotional support hamster down the toilet after Spirit Airlines refused to let her bring her little pet on the aircraft.
Belen contacted Spirit Airlines before her flight from Baltimore to South Florida on Nov. 21st, 2017, regarding traveling with her dwarf hamster, Pebbles. Aldecosea claimed Spirit told her it was not a problem to bring her emotional support hamster on the flight.
However, when Ms. Aldecosea arrived at the airport she said Spirit refused to let Pebbles on the aircraft. Aldecosea said she did not have many options since her family was in Florida and her friends were hours away. Ms. Aldecosea claimed a Spirit employee suggested she either let the animal free, or flush Pebbles down a toilet.
Aldecosea skipped her flight and tried a car rental instead, but was denied because of her young age. So she did what she felt was the most humane choice and sadly approached a nearby commode.
“She was scared. I was scared. It was horrifying trying to put her in the toilet,” Aldecosea said. “I was emotional. I was crying. I sat there for a good 10 minutes crying in the stall.”
“I didn’t have any other options,” she said.
Ms. Aldecosea said Pebbles was a doctor-approved emotional support animal that helped her when she developed a growth in her neck.
“She (Pebbles) was so loving. It was like she knew I needed somebody,” Aldecosea said.
Aldecosea, who now attends university in Texas, said she was considering legal action against Spirit Airlines for “pressuring her into making an anguished decision with a pet certified by her doctor as an emotional support animal.”
Aldecosea's attorney, Adam Goodman said this case was different than the woman who made headlines last week after United Airlines refused her request to bring her emotional support peacock on a flight.
"This wasn’t a giant peacock that could pose a danger to other passengers. This was a tiny cute harmless hamster that could fit in the palm of her hand,” Goodman said.