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Woman told she can’t take emotional support hamster on flight flushes it down toilet

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Woman told she can't take emotional support hamster on flight flushes it down toilet
Belen Aldecosea said she was forced to flush her emotional support hamster down the toilet after it was refused boarding by Spirit Airlines

A woman flushed her emotional support hamster down an airport toilet after an airline refused to let her fly with it.

Belen Aldecosea was twice told by Spirit Airlines she could bring the animal, called Pebbles, on board – only for them to deny it access when she turned up at Baltimore Airport last November.

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Recalling the moment she killed the dwarf hamster, Belen, 21, said: ‘I didn’t have any other options, She was scared.

‘I was scared. It was horrifying trying to put her in the toilet.

‘I was emotional. I was crying. I sat there for a good 10 minutes crying in the stall.’

Woman told she can't take emotional support hamster on flight flushes it down toilet
Pebbles, the dwarf hamster, who was registered as Belen’s emotional support animal after a cancer scare
Woman told she can't take emotional support hamster on flight flushes it down toilet
Belen decided it would be kinder to send Pebbles to a water grave than set her free and let her freeze to death or get hit by a car

College student Belen, who was flying home to Miami from c, got Pebbles after a cancer scare last year.

She had a doctor’s letter certifying the rodent as a comfort animal, and checked twice with Spirit Airlines before flying that.

The airline told her it was fine to fly, but after checking in Belen was chased to the gate by a screaming Spirit worker who insisted rodents were not allowed on board.

Pebbles, who Belen described as ‘so loving’, was barred from the hold too – with Belen claiming the worker told her to set the animal free or flush it.

Belen insists she checked car hire and Greyhound bus options before killing Pebbles, and claimed flushing him was kinder than letting him free where he would freeze or be hit by a car.

Woman told she can't take emotional support hamster on flight flushes it down toilet
Spirit Airlines admits giving Belen information about whether the animal could fly – but insist no instruction was given to flush Pebbles down a toilet

The student is contemplating a lawsuit against Spirit and has hired attorney Adam Goodman to fight her case.

He told the Miami Herald: ‘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.’

Spirit accepted Belen had been given misinformation, but a spokesman added: ‘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.’

The U.S. Transport Safety Administration said hamsters were welcome through their security lanes.

Guidance states: ‘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.’

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