I have absolutely no sympathy for the student who says Spirit Airlines told her to flush her pet hamster down a Baltimore airport toilet.
Speaking to the Miami Herald, 21-year-old Belen Aldecosea says her hamster, Pebbles, was denied entry onto her flight at Baltimore airport. Aldecosea alleges that a Spirit Airlines employee then told her to flush Pebbles down the toilet.
The lemming that she is, Aldecosea then did so. "She was scared. I was scared," the devoted pet owner told the Herald, "It was horrifying trying to put her in the toilet, I was emotional. I was crying. I sat there for a good 10 minutes crying in the stall."
First off, what kind of moron tries to bring a hamster on a plane in the first place?
The answer, of course, is the same kind of person who attempts to take a peacock onto a plane.
That said, Aldecosea's choice to drown her pet in a toilet speaks very gravely of her own conduct. Indeed, it patently falls under Maryland criminal law's prohibition against inflicting "unnecessary suffering or pain on an animal."
Instead, the Herald notes that Aldecosea is now considering a lawsuit against Spirit for "the conflicting instructions that wound up pressuring her into making an anguished decision with a pet certified by her doctor as an emotional support animal." The newspaper quotes Aldecosea's attorney, Adam Goodman, as stating that "this wasn’t a giant peacock that could pose a danger to other passengers. This was a tiny cute harmless hamster that could fit in the palm of her hand."
I'm sorry, but this is bull excrement.
For a start, airlines have great latitude under the law, and as rendered in case law, to subjectively prevent passengers from bringing all range of items and animals onto planes. This is for reasons of security, but also public health. As a case in point, Spirit was well within its rights to deny the hamster access in light of a very reasonable concern that the animal might have been carrying diseases.
This is basic law school stuff, and Aldecosea's lawyer does his professional reputation a disservice by his apparent advice that she has a case here.
Ultimately, however, this is just one more example of another idiot trying to extract money as a prize for their idiocy.
It shouldn't stand, and I hope Spirit goes to court to defend itself instead of settling.