Denounce Airline for Allegedly Making Passenger Flush Hamster Down Toilet

Target: Robert Fornaro, President and CEO of Spirit Airlines

Goal: Investigate reports of airline employee making a woman drown her pet hamster in the toilet, and hold those responsible accountable.

Airline policy regarding animals has invoked strong controversy, but one airline recently took this debate to a whole new low level. In November, a college student allegedly killed her pet hamster by flushing it down a Spirit Airlines toilet. The woman recounted ten minutes of terror for her pet Pebbles as she struggled to perform the act. Worse yet, she charges that airline officials caused and even encouraged this shocking act of animal cruelty.

The trouble began when the woman called to book a flight for an emergency trip home. She says that upon inquiring if she could bring her hamster Pebbles on the flight as an emotional support animal, the airline representative complied with the request: a phone call that Spirit Airlines does not deny. When she arrived at the airport, however, matters deteriorated. After initially passing Pebbles through one checkpoint without incident, an airline employee insisted the hamster could not board the flight. Then, most shockingly, an airline rep allegedly suggested that this passenger ‘take care of her problem’ by either setting the hamster free or by flushing it down the toilet. After hours of trying to find alternate transportation and with no one available to retrieve her animal, the woman argued she made the more humane choice.

While this woman was ultimately responsible for the choice she made and should be held accountable, Spirit Airlines failed in its duty at every step. It vehemently denies that an employee advised the passenger to harm her pet, but the allegations and presumably, the accused employee, remain. Even omitting this alleged action, the airline still provided the passenger with incorrect information. And when confronted, reps were not adequately prepared to help an emotionally distraught passenger in an emergency situation. Airline policies may vary, but the U.S. Transportation Safety Administration states that it has no issues with allowing hamsters on a flight as long as proper protocol is followed.

Sign this petition to hold Spirit Airlines accountable for its inaction and encourage clearer, more humane policies toward pets and their owners.


Dear Mr. Fornaro,

Your policies are meant to ensure the safety and comfort of those under your care. Yet over the holidays, a living being likely lost its life within your doors. Plenty of blame can be assigned in the tragic case of the emotional support hamster flushed down an airport toilet. Please take the recent scrutiny directed at your organization not only as a call for accountability but as an opportunity for improvement.

If the allegation regarding one of your employees encouraging this act of animal cruelty was not investigated internally with good faith and intent, please take this step. You want the best, most competent individuals serving your customers. You also need employees who can navigate challenges and conflicts with thorough problem-solving and communication skills.

Further, these employees should be following clear directives with no room for ambiguity. Consider a more open approach in your pet policies. The U.S. Transportation Safety Administration confirms that as long as guidelines are met and containment is ensured, hamsters and other rodents could be present on an airline with minimal to no problem.

In essence, please move forward with three key tenets in mind: accountability, empathy, and action.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Digital Image Fan

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  1. Shame! Shame on your airline! Heartless.
    What a horrible thing for the poor owner of that little animal, and that innocent pet, who was clearly important, to this innocent woman and was more than a pet. Now, you have traumatized that innocent young woman who relied on this little animal for health reasons. Shame shame, what a monster you heartless person.

  2. Robert Ortiz says:

    Chalk up another big mistake and bad publicity for yet another airline, which are proving themselves more and more to be heartless, mean, greedy and stupid!

  3. What a total cock-up! First she is told she can take it, then she can’t, then it must be disposed of! It was hardly likely to pose a threat to life and limb! Did other passengers object? Which half-wit did? This is unbelievable that such idiots actually exist! Remind me not to book with this useless, ridiculous so called air line!

  4. I remember hearing bad stuff about this airline and now hearing about this, this just verifies that I will never fly with them. What kind of spirit would do such an evil thing to such an innocent animal.

  5. Dolores Proubasta says:

    When morons and airlines get together, guess who pays. Boicot Spirit Airlines, and let’s hope someone waterboards that imbecile of a girl, repeatedly.

  6. michelle mitchell says:

    Lets make this vile airline be shut down immediately and permanently!Spirit airlines has a disgusting reputation.

  7. This young woman should never had been put in this position. This employee should be fired. Down with spirit airlines. I heard they suck anyway. It is sad that this hamster had to lose its life because of this employee.

    • Mongoose Jones says:

      HOW do you FORCE a 21 yr old woman to DROWN her pet???? SHE has at least half the responsibility for his death….

      • Diane Petrillo Diane Petrillo says:

        The hamster lost its life because of its owner not the airline. At 21 years old she’s an adult and should know right from wrong. She ultimately killed her own hamster. Maybe if she was 5 years old, maybe.

        • Robert Ortiz says:

          Diane, use your brain. The airline put her in that horible position to begin with. Yes she’s 21, but the airline personnel should not have behaved the way they did.

  8. Mongoose Jones says:

    HOW do you FORCE a 21 yr old woman to DROWN her pet???? SHE has at least half the responsibility for his death…. If not more…she could have LEFT the airport with her pet and made other arrangements.

    • Diane Petrillo Diane Petrillo says:

      Definitely, And at 21 she should have had the good sense to do so. Maybe they should have sold her a bridge and told her to jump off of it too.

  9. Jeannette Allan says:

    She should have refused, been arrested then have reported on all the major news broadcasts, newspapers , and media. There would have been a lawsuit which she would surely have won with public opinion against the vicious act of this airline. She may have been foolish in bringing this poor animal on board , but there is absolutely no excuse for this vile cruelty. Needs more publicity , this airline should be punished.

  10. Gen Agustsson says:

    no animals allowed on planes unless you have a service dog.

  11. Absolutely heartless, horrific murder of an innocent animal….for no reason whatsoever. Those implicit in this atrocity should be fired and charged. I hope this damn airline is sued for everything it is worth. Despicable.

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