Today in weird headlines: a student flushed her emotional support hamster down the toilet after an airline refused to let it board.
After the crazy news of someone’s emotional support peacock being denied at an airport, which could potentially delegitimize actual needs of people with service animals, it seems like a tiny hamster would be more manageable and practical for an airline to handle.
College student, Belen Aldecosea, 21, of Miami Beach, Florida was flying home from college on Nov. 21 to deal with a medical issue.
According to the Miami Herald, she says she was led to flush her pet dwarf hamster, Pebbles, down the toilet due to “wrong information” given to her by the airline.
She called Spirit Airlines twice ahead of time to make sure that it was OK, to which the airline told her: no problem. However, when she arrived at the airport, she was told that the dwarf hamster, a species which grows no more than four inches, would not be allowed on board.
Aldecosea was left agonizing for hours, trying to figure out what to do and she eventually decided the most humane thing to do was to flush it down the toilet. The rodent was certified with a letter from her doctor and she acquired the animal after having a cancer scare. The scare was caused by a golf ball-sized growth on her neck and though it was found to be benign, Aldecosea says it was still painful.
According to the Miami Herald, a spokesman for Spirit Airlines acknowledged the airline mistakenly told her that Pebbles was allowed, but denied that a Spirit employee recommended the option of disposing of her pet in an airport restroom. They also claim they offered her a spot on a later flight.
Aldecosea is now considering filing a lawsuit against Spirit over the miscommunication that led her to flush the hamster.
Service animals on airplanes have been a hot-button issue lately and American Airlines reported that from 2016 to 2017, there was an increase of over 40 percent in customers who flew with a service or support animal.