A Florida woman has reportedly filed a formal complaint with Spirit Airlines, after she claimed the staff forced her to flush her pet hamster down the toilet.
Belen Aldecosea was reportedly traveling from college to South Florida when the incident happened, the Miami Herald reports. Aldecosea claims she called the airlines twice to ensure that she could bring her hamster, Pebbles on board the aircraft. The airline reportedly told her it was no problem on the phone, but upon her arrival at the gate at the Baltimore airport, the staff seemed to be singing a different tune.
Spirit reportedly refused to let Aldecosea board the plane with Pebbles. Instead, they reportedly suggested that she to flush the dwarf rodent down the toilet. Aldecosea was reportedly in a rush to return home in order to deal with a medical emergency, so she ultimately gave in to the suggestion. “I was scared. It was horrifying trying to put her in the toilet,” Aldecosea said. “I was emotional. I was crying. I sat there for a good 10 minutes crying in the stall.”
Derek Dombrowski, a spokesperson for Spirit stated that an employee who Aldecosea spoke over the phone, gave her the wrong information. Then Dombrowski denied anyone recommending that she flush her hamster, however. “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,” Dombrowski said.
This wouldn’t be the first time someone has had trouble bringing an animal on a plane. Several airlines have recently cracked down on their pet’s policy, causing many passengers to leave their pets behind. But according, the U.S. Transportation Safety Administration, hamsters are allowed to cross through security. “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,” TSA spokeswoman, Sari Koshetz stated. It then lies on the airlines service to determine whether it will allow pets.
Aldocosea is reportedly considering suing Spirit over the conflicting information she was given, as well as for emotional distress following her pet’s sudden death. Her attorney, Adam Goodman suggests she had a real case. “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,” he said.