A Woman Is Suing Spirit Airlines After They Banned Her From Traveling With Her Emotional Support Hamster And "Forced" Her To Flush It

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Belen Aldecosea is suing for "emotional distress."

A Florida student is suing Spirit Airlines after she says they banned her from bringing her emotional support hamster on the plane and suggested she flushed it. Because she felt like she had no other choice, 21-year-old Belen Aldecosea drowned her pet, Pebbles. 

On a flight back to Fort Lauderdale in November, Aldecosea said she called the airline twice to make sure she was allowed to bring her "medically certified" support animal on board.

It happened to be a pet dwarf hamster who had gone with her to visit her home in Baltimore. 

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Though she said that both times she called the airline said it would be fine to bring Pebbles, when she arrived, it was a different story. She was told she was no longer allowed to bring him. 

Aldecosea changed her flight to a different time to figure out what to do. She called six different rental car agencies, but no vehicles were available. She said she exhausted all of her other options and had no choice but the fly to get back home in time for a medical appointment.  


Aldecosea said that when the flight was about to start boarding, a member of Spirit's staff said she should either let Pebbles go free or flush her down the toilet. 

She said she didn't want her to freeze or starve to death, she decided to flush her living pet. 

'She was scared. I was scared," Aldecosea said. "It was horrifying trying to put her in the toilet." 

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

The student said she might file a lawsuit against the airline for pressuring her into killing her animal. Spirit denies that a staff member every told her to flush Pebbles. 

However, they did say that an employee had mistakenly told her that the hamster would be allowed on the flight. 


The airline offered her a voucher for a free flight to certain cities, but Aldecosea declined it. PETA has since condemned the airline and called the move "cruel and illegal. 

It doesn't appear that the student is facing any charges. The Transportation Safety Administration allows hamsters to pass security, but it's up to airlines to decide if they're allowed on boards. 

Most don't allow rodents over health and safety concerns. 

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Emily Blackwood is an editor at YourTango who covers pop culture, true crime, dating, relationships and everything in between. Every Wednesday at 7:20 p.m. you can ask her any and all questions about self-love, dating, and relationships LIVE on YourTango’s Facebook page. You can follow her on Instagram (@blackw00d) and Twitter (@emztweetz).