It all started when Belen Aldecosea decided to fly home with her hamster Pebbles. The student called Spirit Airlines twice before heading to the airport with her emotional support pet — but despite her confirmation from the airline, Pebbles wasn't allowed on the flight.
That's when things took a turn for Belen, 21, who claims that an airport employee suggested flushing the hamster down the toilet since she was hours away from campus and had no way to take Pebbles home. So after agonizing over the decision for hours, she did.
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“She was scared. I was scared. It was horrifying trying to put her in the toilet,” Belen told The Miami Herald. “I was emotional. I was crying. I sat there for a good 10 minutes crying in the stall.” Spirit denies the allegations — but Belen is considering suing the airlines over the pressure to get rid of her beloved critter. “This wasn’t a giant peacock that could pose a danger to other passengers," her attorney added of the Nov. 21 incident. "This was a tiny cute harmless hamster that could fit in the palm of her hand."
However, animal rights organization PETA thinks Belen is just as guilty as Spirit Airlines when it comes to the murder of her pet. "One phone call could have saved this animal, or some kind person at the airport could have helped. Flushing a living being down a toilet is not only cruel but also illegal, and both the person who killed this animal and Spirit Airlines — if an employee did, in fact, advise the woman to drown the hamster — should be charged," senior vice president Daphna Nachminovitch told Life & Style exclusively. "This must have been a horrific, terrifying death."
According to the South Florida publication, Belen bought Pebbles after transferring to Wilson College in Chambersburg, Penn., where she was lonely and developed a "golf-ball-size growth" in her neck. The rodent kept her company in her dorm room and would be by her side as she flew home to have the lump removed — but the hamster never made it. After contacting six rental car agencies and even considering taking a Greyhound bus home, which would have taken days, Belen believed flushing her pet was the most humane option. “They gave me the wrong information more than once,” she added. "I didn’t have any other options." RIP Pebbles.