Student says airline suggested she flush living pet hamster down toilet — and she did it

Posted at 11:33 AM, Feb 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-08 13:59:30-05

A college student from Florida is considering legal action against Spirit Airlines, saying they advised her to flush a pet hamster down a toilet before boarding a plane. 

Belen Aldecosea, 21, was headed home from school Nov. 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. Prior to her arrival, she was mistakenly told the hamster would be allowed, a Spirit Airlines representative confirmed to the Herald.

Aldecosea alleges an airline representative "suggested flushing Pebbles down an airport toilet, a step that Spirit denies," the Herald said.

Aldecosea needed to get home because of dealing with a medical issue, and her friends in college were hours away. She felt stuck and "unsuccessfully tried renting a car and agonized for hours before doing the unthinkable," the Herald says.

She told the newspaper she cried in a restroom stall for 10 minutes after feeling that she had no choice but to flush Pebbles.

Now, Aldecosea is considering filing a lawsuit over the conflicting instructions.

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

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

Allowing hamsters on flights is up to individual airlines, as is any guideline around allowing animals on board of airplanes, a TSA representative said to the Herald.