Texas State Student Flushes Hamster After She Can’t Fly With It
Belen Aldecosea, a 21 year old college student, had a brief health scare with a growth on her neck. To comfort her, she ended up at a pet store not too far from her campus at Wilson College in Chambersburg, PA, and purchased a dwarf hamster named Pebbles.
A few weeks later, Aldecosea was about to jump on a flight to head home to get the growth removed. She called Spirit Airlines to confirm that she could fly with Pebbles. She was told she could.
She got to the airport and everything was fine. TSA had no issues with Pebbles.
"We would be happy to screen a hamster," TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein told the Post. "A hamster does not pose a security risk, and TSA is focused on security risks."
But Spirit Airlines had apparently made a mistake and they weren't okay with Pebbles flying. While Spirit is okay with dogs, cats, and even birds, rodents "will not be accepted." So a Spirit Airlines gave Aldecosea two options. Release Pebbles into the wild to roam free, or flush Pebbles down the toilet. She chose toilet. While Spirit admits an employee incorrectly told Aldecosea the hamster could fly, they deny telling her to flush the hamster.
"After researching this incident, we can say confidently that at no point did any of our agents suggest this Guest … should flush or otherwise injure an animal," Spirit spokesman Derek Dombrowski told The Washington Post in an email. "It is incredibly disheartening to hear this Guest reportedly decided to end her own pet's life."
Many airlines are starting to crack down on emotional support animals as more and more crazy requests pop up. People have shown up with pigs, peacocks, even a kangaroo.
Aldecosea has since transferred to Texas State University, and while she emailed Spirit to complain about the incident, she has rejected the airlines offer of a voucher for future travel.