Meanwhile, the airline admits through a spokesperson that an employee did incorrectly initially tell her the hamster was allowed onboard, but denied that anyone had told Belen to flush Pebbles down the toilet.
Aldecosea told the Herald that, out of options and with her flight boarding soon, she considered just letting Pebbles free but felt it was more humane to flush the animal than let it run around in the cold, only to get hit by a auto.
Spirit Airlines denies telling Belen Aldecosea, 21, to flush the hamster named Pebbles.
A Spirit Airlines representative told the Independent that employees incorrectly told Aldecosea that Pebbles could fly with her. The 21-year old was scared and did not even have any other option, so she had to take the traumatic decision.
The carrier changed her 10 a.m. flight to a later one at 7 p.m.to give Aldecosea time to make game plans for the animal, Spirit representative Derek Dombrowski revealed to USA TODAY.
Although his story is by far the most tragic, Pebbles is not the first emotional support pet to receive media attention in recent months.
Some emotional support animals have been declined on airlines, like a giant peacock that recently went viral after United Airlines refused to allow it on board.
After agonising over what she should do, she took Pebble into the toilet stall. "I was emotional. I was crying".
Aldecosea says she tried to rent a auto, take a Greyhound bus and arrange for a shipping company to transport her pet but that none of those options panned out.
Aldecosea's lawyer, Adam Goodman, told BuzzFeed News she thought flushing the hamster would put it out of its misery faster than releasing it, where it would inevitably die anyway. Such moves have been supported by the union representing flight attendants, which said in a statement that the workers struggle to cope with issues like "biting, aggression, urination, defecation, allergic reactions, conflict and other disruptions". "It was like she knew I needed somebody", she said.
She was afraid to set Pebbles loose at the airport, fearing she would be run over.
"Hamsters are welcome in our checkpoint". Most of them, including American, Delta and United, to no allow rodents out of safety and health concerns.
The Transportation Safety Administration, TSA, allows hamsters past security; the cages are sent through the X-ray while the owners hold the animals in their hands as the walk through the metal detectors.