Published: Fri, February 09, 2018
Economy | By

Woman Claims She Flushed Hamster on Spirit Air's Advice

Woman Claims She Flushed Hamster on Spirit Air's Advice

Now, Spirit Airlines is in trouble after a woman alleged that an airline employee encouraged her to flush her pet hamster down an airport toilet, the Miami Herald first reported.

Belen Aldecosea, 21, was headed home from school November 21, 2017 when at a Baltimore airport she was told her pet dwarf hamster, Pebbles, could not get on the flight with her, the Miami Herald reports.

She bought Pebbles after going through a cancer scare while studying at Wilson College in Pennsylvania - and was flying home after withdrawing from school to have surgery on the benign tumor doctors had diagnosed.

The airline denies telling her to flush an animal down a toilet.

'I was emotional. I was crying. "I sat there for a good 10 minutes crying in the stall", Aldecosea told the Miami Herald.

Dombrowski denied that an employee suggested that Aldecosea flush the hamster down the toilet. But when she arrived to the airport several days later, she was told rodents weren't allowed on board with passengers and Pebbles could not be stored in cargo.

Belen insists she checked auto 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 vehicle.

A representative for Spirit Airlines denied that an employee said to flush the emotional support animal. Each time, an airline representative told her the hamster could fly with her, a Spirit spokesperson confirmed to Business Insider. Eventually, a Spirit employee allegedly suggested that Aldecosea release the hamster outside or flush it down an airport toilet.

"I didn't have any other options", says Belen Aldecosea, so she opted for a pretty bad one: She flushed her dwarf hamster down the toilet.


Hamsters are not prohibited by the Transportation Security Administration, but it would have had to be taken out of its holder and carried through the security checkpoint.

Goodman told the Herald: "This wasn't a giant peacock that could pose a danger to other passengers".

The controversy follows a recent incident where a woman unsuccessfully tried to bring a peacock on a United Airlines flight after claiming it was an emotional-support animal.

This case is different, said her Florida attorney, Adam Goodman.

The student said she considered letting Pebbles run free outside but could not bear thinking of her hamster freezing to death or getting hit. "It was like she knew I needed somebody", Aldecosea said.

However, it is up to individual airlines to decide whether they allow the rodents on board. The peacock was rejected under the airline's previous policy for health and safety reasons.

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

2018 has so far featured a surprising number of stories about emotional support animals at airports. She was told Pebbles couldn't go with her.

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