Waving goodbye to loved ones at the airport is always emotional, but knowing you will see them on your return makes it worth it . . . unless you flush them down the toilet, that is.
Belen Aldecosea, a 21-year student at Texas State University, reportedly flushed her beloved emotional support hamster down an airport toilet after it was not allowed to board the plane.
Pebbles the hamster was a doctor-certified companion and Spirit Airlines had twice confirmed that the duo would be able to fly together prior to the flight, according to Aldecosea speaking to Miami Herald.
But, upon arriving to the airport, emotional support companion in tow, Aldecosea was informed Pebbles would not be allowed to fly.
A Spirit Airlines representative reportedly suggested two courses of action: either release Pebbles to the wild at the airport doors, or flush her down the toilet.
Failing to hire a car to return her furry friend to safety, Aldecosea decided plan B was the next best option.
I literally can't survive without my beloved emotional support hamster!
Oh wait. I might miss my flight?
— Jim Meigs (@jamesbmeigs) February 8, 2018
“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.”
Pebbles was a self-care gift to herself during a cancer scare and was recognized by a medical professional as an emotional support pet.
Aldecosea is now considering filing a lawsuit against Spirit Airlines for providing her with wrong information.
Spirit Airlines has apologised for telling Aldecosea her emotional support animal could keep her company or her flight, but has denied telling her to flush Pebbles down the toilet.
I need an emotional support hamster after reading the emotional support hamster story
— Adrianna McIntyre (@onceuponA) February 8, 2018
“To be clear, at no point did any of our agents suggest this guest (or any other for that matter) should flush or otherwise injure an animal,” spokesman Derek Dombrowski said to Miami Herald.
The U.S. Transportation Safety Administration said it has no problem with carry-on hamsters: “Hamsters are welcome in our checkpoint. Their container would typically go through the X-ray while the owner would hold the hamster as the passenger walks through the metal detector so the creature is not subjected to radiation,” according to TSA spokeswoman Sari Koshetz.
Other emotional support animals have been making headlines recently – including a peacock with its own fight booking – but Aldecosea’s attorney says this case is unique: “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.”
Although squirrels, along with other animals, have flown as emotional support companions in the past, Spirit Airlines said they do not allow rodents on the flight for health and safety reasons.