Student Claims Spirit Airlines Forced Her To Drown 'Emotional Support' Hamster

09 February, 2018, 01:58 | Author: Terri Saunders
  • Belen Aldecosea was just trying to return home to Florida with her pet hamster to deal with a medical issue but she says conflicting information from Spirit Airlines led her to flush the emotional support animal down an airport toilet

Aldecosea says she that had twice verified with the airline that her dwarf hamster Pebbles, as a doctor-certified emotional support animal, was allowed on the plane.

But Spirit doesn't let rodents on its flights, which a Spirit employee told Aldecosea before she went through security at Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

When Aldecosea said she had no one to take care of the hamster for her, she claims a rep for the airline suggested she flush the animal down the toilet or let it go free, the Herald reported. She was offered a seat on a later flight and tried to rent a vehicle to take Pebbles back to her student accommodation, but no cars were available.

The airline denies telling her to flush an animal down a toilet. It resembled she knew I required some individual, ' said Aldecosea, a six-feet tall volleyball star who helped lead her school, Miami Beach to consecutive National District Championships and was named Most Valuable Player, before joining Barry University in Florida where she joined the volleyball group.

This incident happened on November 21 and now Aldecosea is considering filing a lawsuit against the company.

She said the alternative would have been to set Pebbles free to roam the unsafe streets of Baltimore - where crime drama The Wire is set.

Spirit did acknowledge that they falsely told Aldecosea that her small hamster was safe to fly on two occasions.

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

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The tumor ended up being benign, but so still so painful that she withdrew from Wilson College in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, and planned a trip back home to Florida to get the growth removed. Goodman will represent Aldecosea should she decide to follow through with a lawsuit.

Goodman said this obviously wasn't what Aldecosea wanted to do, but having adults tell her it was OK compounded the situation.

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'.

In recent days, airlines have put strict rules in place regarding "emotional support" animals.

Pebbles is only the latest of the unusual emotional support animals used by people scared of flying, which are usually no weirder than just dogs and cats.

"Rodents of any kind are not allowed on board for health and safety reasons".

The debate over what counts as an emotional-support animal, and which animals should be allowed on commercial flights, has become a near-crisis for airlines.

According to the US Department of Transportation's policy concerning "unusual service animals", they should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and airlines are urged to consider each animal's size, weight, state and foreign country restrictions, and whether or not the animal would pose a direct threat, or cause a disruption on a flight.


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