In a report from The Miami Herald, a Texas State University student said she was forced to flush her emotional support animal down an airport toilet after Spirit Airlines blocked her from bringing the pet on her flight.
Belen Aldecosea, 21, told the Miami Herald that she verified twice with Spirit Airlines that she could bring Pebbles — a pet dwarf hamster certified by her doctor as an emotional support animal — before she arrived at the Baltimore airport to fly to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Ms. Aldecosea, who was flying home to have a golf-ball size growth removed from her neck, said Spirittold her it was OK to bring the hamster, which the airline confirmed.
“Our reservation representative, unfortunately, did misinform the guest that a hamster was permitted to fly as an emotional support animal on Spirit Airlines,” airline spokesman Dombrowski told The Herald.
But when Ms. Aldecosea tried to board her flight, Spirit employees informed her that rodents were not allowed and could not be stored in cargo. She said she accepted a flight later that day to try to figure out what to do with Pebbles, but didn’t know anyone who could come and pick her up. She said that’s when a Spirit employee advised her to release the animal outside or flush it down the toilet — a claim the airline denies.
“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,” Mr. Dombrowski told The Herald.