The student said that an airline employee advised that her only options were to flush the animal down the toilet or let it loose outside, despite being assured in advance the hamster could fly with her.
Derek Dombrowski, a spokesman for Spirit Airlines, admitted that the airline mistakenly told Aldocosea that Pebbles was allowed to fly, but denied that they'd recommended killing the poor hamster.
Aldecosea skipped her flight and tried to rent a vehicle instead, but said she was too young to rent one.
Then, she claims, a Spirit employee suggested that she release the animal outside the airport or flush it down the toilet.
But with no other options, Aldecosea said she felt it was more humane to end her life that way, rather than letting her go and risking her getting hit by a vehicle. "I was emotional. I was crying. I sat there for a good 10 minutes crying in the stall", she added.
They said: "Our reservation representative, unfortunately, did misinform the guest that a hamster was permitted to fly as an emotional support animal on Spirit Airlines".
The incident occurred in November, but Aldecosea didn't share her story until after United Airlines refused to let a passenger bring her "emotional support" peacock on board in a similar scenario. When that turned out to be dodgy information, Aldecosea said she panicked.
"I didn't have any other options", she told the Herald.
However, when she proceeded to the security checkpoint, she says she was stopped by a Spirit agent who told her she couldn't bring her hamster, even though it had been previously confirmed as permissible.More news: Years after acquisition, Nest, Google hardware teams to unify
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"Flushing a living being down the 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".
Nevertheless, the US Transportation Safety Administration has no problem with carry-on hamsters.
Belen insists she checked vehicle hire and Greyhound bus options before killing Pebbles, and claimed flushing him was kinder than letting him free where he would freeze or be hit by a auto.
Spirit Airlines offered her a voucher for a free flight to some cities, but Aldecosea declined.
She told the paper she flushed the hamster. "Their container would typically go through the X-ray while the owner would hold the hamster as the passenger walks through the metal detector so the creature is not subjected to radiation".
"They gave me the wrong information a couple of times", she added.
Most major United States airlines, however, don't allow rodents on flights over concerns about health and safety. "She pondered whether to just let Pebbles free outside", the Herald continues, but eventually decided said it was "more humane to end [Pebbles'] life right away, and not let her run around scared in the cold, only to die getting hit by a vehicle".
Belen insisted she considered other options like vehicle hire or taking a coach, but was left with little choice.