Student Claims Spirit Airlines Forced Her To Drown 'Emotional Support' Hamster

Student flushes emotional support hamster down toilet after airline refuses to allow rodent on flight

According to Aldecosea, she was told by Spirit Airlines that Pebbles would be able to board the plane without a problem, twice.

The incident occurred in November, but Aldecosea didn't share her story until after United Airlines refused to let a passenger bring her "emotional support" peacock on board in a similar scenario. She also reportedly did not have time to arrange for someone to care for her pet while she was gone. "I was emotional. I was crying". So she did the unthinkable: she flushed her pet.

Regardless, Aldecosea was in a hard position; desperate to fly home to attend to a medical issue, with no friends or family in Baltimore to take care of her pet.

The TSA notably will accommodate small animals like hamsters, but as the Herald pointed out, individual airlines are less lenient.

During her first semester at a school in Pennsylvania, Aldecosea developed a painful growth in her neck, leading to a cancer scare.

The final decision to send Pebbles to a watery grave seemed more humane, she said, than letting the animal free to potentially starve to death or get struck by a auto. "I sat there for a good 10 minutes crying in the stall".

"One phone call could have saved this animal, or some kind person at the airport could have helped", senior vice president Daphna Nachminovitch told Fox News. A Spirit Airlines spokesperson confirmed to Travel + Leisure that there was a miscommunication from the agents who spoke to Aldecosea, saying, "our reservation representative, unfortunately, did misinform the guest that a hamster was permitted to fly as an emotional support animal on Spirit Airlines".

Derek Dombrowski, a spokesman for Spirit Airlines, denied in a statement to The Post that any employee suggested that Aldecosea hurt or injure the critter prior to the flight.

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The employee allegedly suggested Aldecosea, who was studying at Wilson College 100 miles away, set the hamster free outside or flush it down the toilet, according to the Florida-based attorney. The rep told her it was fine - an assurance that Spirit agrees was given to Aldecosea.

"This was a highly stressful situation and people react in a lot of different ways", he said.

He said she got a replacement hamster since the incident but is still upset. "It was a disgusting situation, and she's still distraught".

Goodman will represent Aldecosea should she decide to follow through with a lawsuit.

"A hamster is the most innocuous animal".

Emotional support animals have become a controversial issue for U.S. airlines over recent years. In recent weeks, both Delta and United airlines revised their policies about such animals and adopted stricter rules and requirements.

But once at the airport, Pebbles was denied entry onto the flight. Most don't allow rodents due to health and safety concerns.

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