College Student Accuses Spirit Airlines Of Forcing Her To Flush Her Hamster Down Toilet [Updated]

Pebbles was a doctor-approved emotional support animal assigned after the student developed a growth in her neck while attending Wilson College in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.

We previously discussed the increasing number of people bringing therapy and comfort animals on flights ranging from dogs to peacocks to small ponies to turkeys.  Airlines have begun to push back on this trend to bar certain animals.  Aldecosea (who is form Miami Beach, Florida) was told that she could not take her comfort hamster Pebbles on the flight.  She claims that this was a reversal of what she was told over the telephone before the flight.

She says that she had no option available to her since her family and friends were unavailable.  She said that the Spirit employees suggestion that she let the animal free or flush Peddles.

Aldecosea says that she skipped her flight and tried to rent a car without success because of her age.  She said that she did not feel that she would let Peebles free in the freezing cold to die from exposure or suffer injury.  That is when she took the walk to an airport bathroom.  She is quoted as saying “She was scared. I was scared. It was horrifying trying to put her in the toilet. I was emotional. I was crying. I sat there for a good 10 minutes crying in the stall. . . . I didn’t have any other options.”

Spirit admits that an employee misinformed Aldecosea that Pebbles wold be allowed on the flight. It denies however that any employee suggested the flush option.  The airline spokesperson added “it is incredibly disheartening to hear this guest reportedly decided to end her own pet’s life,”

Clearly, Aldecosea could sue for emotional distress in a tort action as well as other claims.  Spirit could countersue for her disparagement of its company based on false statements from its employee.  It sounds like the denial of entry for Pebbles, however, occurred as a counter where it might not have been recorded. If it were to go to trial, Aldecosea could face a hostile jury over her decision that she had no other option but to drown her pet.  One option was not to take the flight.

There is also the issue of a charge for animal cruelty since the lawsuit would be an admission of animal cruelty (including the statement that the description of having trouble flushing the animal).  Ironically, the more difficulty and trauma associated with the act in the torts lawsuit would strengthen the criminal allegation to the same degree.

What do you think?

58 thoughts on “College Student Accuses Spirit Airlines Of Forcing Her To Flush Her Hamster Down Toilet [Updated]”

  1. Killing her pet was the best ‘choice’
    She could come up with?????
    Is there no taxi service at that airport?
    Uber? Did her phone not work? WTH?

  2. Once again I despair the judgment of the younger generation. In my day, you would have just put the hamster in your backpack and boarded the plane!

    1. DB – this is no longer possible thanks to the idiotic Homeland Security bs which makes everyone subject to a perp walk with scanning and a search.

      1. I think she already passed security. Debbie has it right. She should have gone into the bathroom, flushed the toilet and placed the hamster in her pocket, pocketbook or bought something to hold it and with tears in her eyes boarded the plane.

  3. She should be charged with animal cruelty. . Also, the comfort animal in getting out of hand. What about my rights as a passenger when I do not feel comfortable sitting next to an animal. What if it decides to bite me because it perceived that I am invading its space, specially given the narrow confines of a plane? What if I don’t like the smell? I would never want to sit next to those and would demand a seat switch. Comfort animals can and do attack. Not too long ago, a man was attacked by a large breed in a plane.

  4. Hey, maybe the doctor should have prescribed one of those Rabbit Vibrators you know like that lawyer who was scamming her firm. That would have given a great deal of comfort and the buzzing sound would have lulled the passengers to sleep. Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

  5. Well it was either prescribe her a comfort animal or opioids. A psyche eval might be next. Of all the options available this person chose to kill her hamster? Is Spirit Airlines the only carrier from Baltimore to Miami? What about Greyhound? How long before PETA gets involved?

    1. If flushing Pebbles was the only option she could imagine, she needs more than just a comfort animal to cope in the real world.

      1. Olly, she was young and perhaps more impressionable than she should have been at her age along with being faced with a mass in her neck that would have made any young woman more vulnerable to actions not normally taken.

        1. Sometimes the captain or stewardesses will bend the rules a bit. I was returning home with our ski club and there were some union problems so the workers at the airport were strictly following rules. We had two individuals in need of surgery so they were just slightly delayed and were being pushed back. I told the people at the gate and they said they wouldn’t board them because they were a couple of minutes behind so I told the captain and he said he would do a bunch of flight checks until they boarded.

        2. she was young and perhaps more impressionable than she should have been at her age

          She’s 3 if not 4 years older than many men and women currently on deployment in war zones.

          faced with a mass in her neck that would have made any young woman more vulnerable to actions not normally taken.

          That mass in her neck was already determined to be benign; that mass in her skull, mush. If the treatment prescribed by her doctor for the “pain” that mass was inflicting on her was a comfort animal, then she needs to not be traveling alone. At the most, she should be hand delivered wherever she goes with a note pinned to her travel PJ’s.

          1. Olly, our youth mature at different ages. Take a look at some of the people that spend huge amounts of time in college and graduate school and compare them to those that have been working since high school. You will note a significant difference in social development.

            Did that mass have to be operated on benign or not? Where did this article say the mass was benign? Head and neck surgery can cause disfigurement and can have a lot of complications.

            If what angers you most is the potential suit (along with the doctor’s note) and the repercussions of the suit on the rest of society, that is not part of my discussion.

            1. In November, Aldecosea learned the growth was benign, but it was still painful.
              Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/article198971069.html#storylink=cpy

              That was 3 months ago. I seriously doubt young Belen here was in the midst of anything other than a mental health crisis.

              our youth mature at different ages.

              Really!? Thanks for that. I’ll alert the media so they can share that wisdom with the rest of the world. I’m not the least bit angry. What I am is dumbfounded at the lengths people will go to defend the behavior of ADULTS. Keep in mind, these people are eligible to vote!

              1. “needing to return home promptly to deal with a medical issue”

                “In November, Aldecosea learned the growth was benign, but it was still painful. Withdrawing from school and going home hoping to have it removed”

                A painful mass in the neck that has to be removed can be quite distressing, don’t you think? Did you ever see someone following neck surgery? If you draw and looked at anatomy pictures used to draw you can see how uncertain and extensive a procedure in the neck can be even when removing a benign mass.

                AS I see it the question is how the ADA law is written. That should be the focus of our discontent. I have experience with service dogs and can directly see the problems we are facing. I don’t think we should prejudge the individual based on what is in the newspaper. I think we should be looking at how the ADA law affects society.

  6. I wonder if she takes it to class when she has to take a test or takes it with her when she goes to a college drinking party. “Come on Pebbles we’re going for a job interview so you be a good little girl while mommy answers the nice man questions”, “Pebbles we’re going swimming you know how nervous I get when I go into the ocean”. Give me a break and her doctor, what does this guy own a pet shop on the side. Spirit should have taken the gerbil and tossed her off.

  7. This activity is being enabled by the insurance industry. Have a minor accident at work and you need a support pet. It doesn’t matter what it is. You now have PTSD. You then are suppose to be able to take it wherever you go. Why not a hamster or anything else. I have seen it all. Get a rat and yes you can take it with you to a restaurant. The above comments are not out of line.

    1. dave – I do approve of the selection of the hamster as an emotional support animal since it is so portable and relatively inexpensive for a starving college student. It can be taken everywhere and she did have the proper documentation. I would like to hear Spirit Airlines take on this because last time I was on a plane it really didn’t flush, per se, just accumulated.

        1. mespo – I was thinking about the animal cruelty thing, but I am not sure if hamsters qualify as a protected species.

      1. Paul – She didn’t “flush” the animal in the plane’s restroom, but in the airport’s restroom. Either way is terrible. You’re right, in the plane there is no flushing; it’s just a flying outhouse of nasty chemicals and accumulated waste. The airport restroom, however, would use a normal water flush system. But either way, she couldn’t just throw the hamster in the toilet, because it would naturally try to scramble out. She would have had to hold it underwater in the toilet until it stopped moving and then flush it. Now that’s something I could do to a few people I’ve worked with, but never to an innocent pet that I claimed to love.

        1. TIN – I would give it away rather than do that. However, as someone else mentioned, these snowflakes are so conditioned to following orders from their commissars/professors that I could see her flushing it.

          However, the monetary damage is low and it would be tough to prove the emotional damage. No jury is going to be happy with her flushing her emotional support animal regardless of how pressured she was.

  8. Is Spirit Airlines the one that offers you free beer on long distance flights and charges $100 to use the bathroom ?

  9. Texas State University? No doubt her IQ requires one of those very small metric system prefixes just to move the needle off of zero a little bit.

    “It’s hard, but you really have to look at the circumstances because this whole thing only makes sense with someone telling her to (flush the animal),” Goodman (her lawyer) told USA TODAY.

    Ah, no sir, it only makes sense if your client is an emotionally stunted RATard.

    Thankfully, she’ll be OK. She’s already acquired a replacement future victim. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2018/02/08/student-who-says-she-flushed-comfort-hamster-down-toilet-spirit-airlines-flap-has-replacement-rodent/320062002/

    Although if I were a rodent of any species, I’d steer way clear of this Amazonian idiot. And once one has given a healthy hamster a royal flush, shouldn’t there be a waiting period before the next dead-hamster-walking is acquired?

  10. I don’t believe Ms. Aldecosea’s account that she was forced by the airline to flush her pet hamster. If they had, she is responsible as I cannot see any coercion involved.

    These therapy and comfort animals are getting out of hand. In fact, our state legislature has a bill in the works that will put an end to this ridiculousness.

  11. This story sounded like total BS until I realized two things, that it involves a college student in 2018, and Spirit Airlines.

    In that light we can see we have the most totally evil airline dealing with an idiot trained to listen to authority and do stupid stupid stupid amoral things.

    And so in that light, I absolutely believe that all of this occurred.

  12. I feel bad for the critter but have no sympathy for her. She chose to kill her own pet, in a particularly callous manner. She could have stayed in the airport until she could reach her parents and considered other options, such as Amtrack. I think she did it out of convenience and is now trying to cash in.

    1. TIN – it wasn’t a pet, it was an emotional support animal. Remember the peacock that didn’t get to fly last week? Flushing that would have been a bitch!!!

      1. Paul – Is there a distinction between a pet and an Emotional Support Animal? I thought that an ESA was essentially a pet: an animal that you feed and care for, and in return it provides you with affection and comfort. Just like my cat and dog; the only difference being that a doctor provides a note that allows the ESA to accompany the owner on planes, in stores, etc., something that would not be possible for a non-ESA pet. Because without the presumed emotional bond between the human and the ESA, there is no room for damages claiming emotional distress; it would just be considered a medical device, like if Spirit Airlines told me I couldn’t bring a pair of crutches onboard.

        1. TIN – this whole emotional support animal thing is new to me and you seem to have a better handle on it than I do. I will bow to your superior knowledge. 🙂

  13. I will wait for the suit to be filed. However, if I had an emotional support hamster, it would not get flushed. I would be calling for security.

  14. I don’t believe her. Couldn’t nobody make me kill one of my pets, and the person that told me to would be lucky if I didn’t flush them down the toilet! If she killed the critter, it’s on her. I can’t stand whiny little girls like this!

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

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