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Woman forced to flush emotional support hamster down the toilet before flight

Woman forced to flush emotional support hamster down the toilet before flight

Belen Aldocosea, 21, of Miami Beach was preparing to fly home from Baltimore with her pet hamster, Pebbles, in November 2017, the Miami Herald reports.

Spirit Airlines has denied that an employee encouraged Aldecosea to flush her pet away, but have admitted their failure in misleadingly suggesting that the hamster would be permitted on the flight. She had previously called Spirit Airlines twice to ensure her pet hamster, Pebbles, could fly with her. Aldecosea says that during these harried discussions, a Spirit employee suggested she let the hamster free outside or flush it down the toilet.

When Aldecosea arrived with the hamster at the airport, agents offered her an opportunity to take a later flight so she had time to find other accommodations, Dombrowski said. She told USA Today that rather than allow Pebbles to suffer and freeze outside, she chose to flush it.

An airline representative suggested she flush Pebbles, Aldecosea said. "I was scared. It was horrifying trying to put her in the toilet", Aldecosea said.

Under America's Air Carrier Access Act, certain emotional support animals are allowed to travel with their owners on flights, as long as the pet has the right documentation, isn't a threat and doesn't interfere with others. "Flushing a living being down a toilet isn't just brutal yet in addition illicit, and both the individual who executed this animals and Spirit Airlines - if a worker did, truth be told, encourage the lady to suffocate the hamster - ought to be charged".

Some emotional support animals have been declined on airlines, like a giant peacock that recently went viral after United Airlines refused to allow it on board.

Goodman was referencing a similar case in which a woman couldn't bring her emotional-support peacock on a United flight. "I sat there for a good 10 minutes crying in the stall". She was traveling to Fort Lauderdale to have a growth removed from her neck, which is one of the reasons she needed the support hamster, named Pebbles.

She was afraid to set Pebbles loose at the airport, fearing she would be run over.

"She was so loving", Aldecosea told The Miami Herald in a profile.

Having failed to rent a vehicle to embark on a day-long drive down America's east coast, she opted for the flushing option.

"Another major U.S. airline, Delta, said that the animals passengers requested to bring on board for mental health support include "'comfort turkeys', possums and snakes".

Aldecosa's attorney told the Miami Herald the hamster could fit in the palm of the pet owner's hand.

Rodents are banned by most of the leading companies because of health and safety issues.


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