College student says she flushed her emotional support hamster d - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

College student says she flushed her emotional support hamster down the toilet at suggestion of Spirit Airlines

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(this is not Pebbles the hamster) Stock image from Ricky Kharawala @rk2productions (this is not Pebbles the hamster) Stock image from Ricky Kharawala @rk2productions
BALTIMORE -

A college student flushed her pet hamster down the toilet after she says Spirit Airlines told her she wasn't able to fly with the animal. 

The student said a Spirit Airlines employee suggested she flush her emotional support hamster, Pebbles, the student's lawyer Adam Goodman told CNBC. The airlines denies that this is the case. 

According to CNBC, a Nov. 29 email from Spirit had given Belen Aldecosea a green light to bring the hamster on board.

When she arrived at Baltimore-Washington International Airport in late November, the airline wouldn't let her bring Pebbles with her on board.

"Belen, I can't begin to enough apologize that our agent was unable to provide you with the correct information regarding animals allowed on-board our aircraft," the Spirit representative responded.

Spirit denied that one of its employees suggested that she flush the hamster, CNBC reports. 

"After researching this incident, we can say confidently that at no point did any of our agents suggest this guest (or any other for that matter) should flush or otherwise injure an animal," Spirit spokesman Derek Dombrowski said. "It is incredibly disheartening to hear this guest reportedly decided to end her own pet's life."

Her lawyer says she is considering filing a lawsuit.

21-year-old Aldecosea wanted to fly home because she was dealing with health problems at school, but she was too young to rent a car, Goodman told CNBC. Aldecosea considered letting the dwarf hamster run free but thought it would be more humane to quickly end Pebbles' life, according to The Miami Herald, which first reported the incident.

"I didn't have any other options," she told the newspaper.

The U.S. Transportation Safety Administration has no problem with carry-on hamsters.

“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 told The Miami Herald.

It’s up to airlines whether they allow hamsters on board. Most major carriers such as American, Delta and United, however, don’t allow rodents over concerns about safety and health.

 Starting next month, Delta Airlines and United Airlines will require written confirmation that travelers' emotional support animals are trained.

Last month, United Airlines denied a passenger who wanted to bring her emotional support peacock on a cross-country flight, stating that the animal did not meet size and weight standards.

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