Florida woman: Airline told me to flush pet hamster

This undated image made from video provided by Belen Aldecosea shows Pebbles, her pet dwarf hamster. Aldecosea says Spirit Airlines told her to flush her hamster down an airport toilet because the emotional support rodent wasn't allowed to fly with her. The 21-year-old told the Miami Herald she flushed Pebbles at an airline employee's suggestion, after running out of other options. A spokesman for Spirit acknowledged the airline mistakenly told Aldecosea that Pebbles was allowed. But he denied that a Spirit employee recommended flushing her pet in an airport restroom. (Belen Aldecosea via AP)

MIAMI (AP) — A Florida woman says an airline told her to flush her hamster down an airport toilet because the emotional support rodent wasn't allowed to fly with her.

The Miami Herald reports before Belen Aldecosea flew home from college to South Florida, she twice called Spirit Airlines to ensure she could bring Pebbles, her pet dwarf hamster. No problem, the airline said.

But when Aldecosea arrived at the Baltimore airport, Spirit refused to allow the animal onboard.

The 21-year-old told the paper she flushed Pebbles at an airline employee's suggestion, after running out of other options.

Panicked and needing to return home promptly to deal with a medical issue, Aldecosea was unable to rent a car and agonized for hours.

"She was scared. I was scared. It was horrifying trying to put her in the toilet," Aldecosea said. "I was emotional. I was crying. I sat there for a good 10 minutes crying in the stall."

A spokesman for Spirit acknowledged the airline mistakenly told Aldecosea that Pebbles was allowed. But he denied that a Spirit employee recommended flushing her pet in an airport restroom.

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