‘Emotional Support Hamster’ Barred from Flight, Flushed Down Toilet at BWI

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Photo by James G. Howes, via Wikimedia Commons

Pebbles, a so-called emotional support hamster, was headed to sunny Florida with her owner in November when she arrived at BWI Airport. Sadly, her furry companion didn’t make it out of Baltimore.

Belen Aldecosea, a 21-year-old student, was flying to Fort Lauderdale by way of BWI on Nov. 21, the Miami Herald reports. The Miami Beach native bought a ticket for a Spirit flight, and reportedly called ahead multiple times to make sure she was permitted to bring Pebbles, a doctor-certified emotional support animal, with her on the plane.

But when she arrived, an airline rep told her that her tiny friend wasn’t allowed to come. Aldescosea said the employee advised her to dispose of Pebbles in the toilet, if she wanted to fly. Aldescosea tried to rent a car as an alternative mode of transport that would keep Pebbles alive, but when that failed, she went with what seemed like her only option.

“She was scared. I was scared. It was horrifying trying to put her in the toilet,” Aldecosea told the newspaper of Pebbles. “I was emotional. I was crying. I sat there for a good 10 minutes crying in the stall.”

Spirit confirmed to the Herald that it had wrongly told Aldecosea she could bring Pebbles aboard at first, but denied the allegation that an employee advised her to kill her pet.

Now she’s considering suing. “They gave me the wrong information more than once,” she said, per the Herald.

The sad report follows another viral story from last week about an “emotional support peacock”–you read that right–denied entry to a United Airlines flight in Newark. Fortunately for that case, the flightless bird and its owner both made it out alive.

Ethan McLeod
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Ethan McLeod

Senior Editor at Baltimore Fishbowl
Ethan has been editing and reporting for Baltimore Fishbowl since fall of 2016. His previous stops include Fox 45, CQ Researcher and Connection Newspapers in Northern Virginia. His freelance writing has been featured in Baltimore City Paper, Leafly, DCist and BmoreArt, among other outlets. He enjoys basketball, humid Mid-Atlantic summers and story tips.
Ethan McLeod
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