On November 29th, 2017, college student Belen Aldecosea received an email from Spirit Airlines confirming that her emotional support hamster would be allowed on an upcoming flight. But upon Aldecosea’s arrival to Baltimore-Washington International Airport later that month, Spirit agents would not allow little Pebbles onto the plane.
According to CNBC, a Spirit agent supposedly suggested that Aldecosea flush her pet down the toilet in order to proceed with boarding. Um — come again?
Aldecosea, who was returning home due to health issues, told The Miami Herald she almost let Pebbles run free. But she felt it would be more humane to end Pebbles’ life rather than put him at risk for a more traumatic end.
Aldecosea is now considering filing a lawsuit against Spirit in the near future. However, the airline denies the allegations that an agent told Aldecosea to drown her support pet. Spirit Airlines spokesman Derek Dombrowski stated:
Airlines across the board have been tightening their rules regarding the emotional support animals that are allowed on planes. Recently, a United passenger attempted to bring a comfort peacock with her on a flight. The airline denied its boarding, stating it didn’t meet size and weight requirements.
If the story about Pebbles’ tragic demise is true, well — we don’t really know what to say. Ending an animal’s life should never be a way out of a situation as simple as boarding a plane, especially when said animal is so small it could fit inside a tissue box.
Rest in peace, Pebbles. Also, #JusticeForPebbles.