78 thoughts on “Moron of the year

    1. How many people are going to say, “I am not going to read the article”? What does THAT add to the discussion, and have you considered how such a comment might make me feel after I’ve posted it? The same way you’d feel if someone said, “I don’t feel like reading your comment.”

      You don’t have to read it, of course, but given normal civility, it’s better to say nothing than to say, “I don’t feel like reading that.”

      1. Okay, sorry to upset you. I did think not wanting to know about it was part of the conversation. I did look at the article and can only say, whatever her problems might be with flying, she appears to have far more difficulties than that. Can do nothing but feel sorry for her.

  1. I don’t want to read this article. I don’t need to hear about someone who would kill a living creature like that.

    And anyway I’m feeling plenty crummy today anyway. I have a dear little cat who has kidney disease and I know I’ll have to say Goodbye to my sweet little Isaac Isaiah (there’s a story behind that awful name)one of these days.

    We’re going to the vet today and I hope we have some more time, and most important, that it’s quality time. So I will ignore the article.

      1. Hello, Jerry…I see that you felt bad when Randall said he didn’t read the article. And I, too, didn’t read it, as I said, because I’m overloaded with too much unhappy stuff. So if I hurt your feelings I want to apologize.

        The vet says my dear little cat only has a month or two more.

        And my Sweetheart is in our local nursing home. I go and see him every day, and this means seeing all sorts of misery on the part of human beans.

        I have to say I have a problem with animal suffering. The Humane Society puts ads on TV that show such misery, it’s heartwrenching. And too much wrenching is counterproductive because I find myself becoming paralyzed and sickened. I’m not the only one. Other people have said that having their emotions pulled and tugged makes it hard to act. (I donate money to our local animal shelter and to our feral cat program. I don’t feel that my emotions are being jerked around.)

        So when I saw the headline I got a sick jolt inside and winced. That’s why I didn’t look, at least not yet. I think I may look later this evening. I do appreciate your posts and I appreciate being on your mailing list.

    1. For what it’s worth…

      We got similar news from our vet at one point. So we dutifully tried all the special kidney-friendly cat foods (which went over like a lead balloon) and prepared ourselves for the imminent demise of our beloved kitty — and he had another five years of feistiness, finally passing on to that great cat bed in the sky just short of his 19th birthday. So you just don’t know how long you have together.

      Quality time — that’s the only thing that matters. Good luck (and keep us posted!).

      1. I had a cat in a similar situation. He also had kidney failure but he liked his food fortunately. He was so bad that I took him home with an IV bag to help flush fluids from him in an effort to help him. That worked so well that with an occasional bag into him (every week or two maybe) he lived for three or four more years. He is no longer with us but I am thankful for the extra quality time he had. Whatever happens and for how long, he seems to have quality staff around him and that means a lot.

  2. I would never fly on Spirit Airline because they nickel and dime one to death on extra charges and they are the lowest rated by users but I applaud their action in this case.

    ‘Emotion support hamster ‘ is what makes this woman the moron of the day. ( The White House contains the morons of the week).

  3. This really makes me angry — a harmless creature capable of suffering killed in a horrible way because it’s owner was too stupid and immature to think of an alternative.

  4. I don’t understand. You can be so delicate (really snowflake) as to need an ’emotional support pet’ but at the same time you can be so callous as to kill it in a horrible fashion as soon as you have an inconvenience.
    And yet she cried a lot so we know she really has a tender heart an will probably need more emotional support (anothet pet maybe?)

    1. Exactly my reaction.
      The airline agrees they misinformed her. Seems like they would agree to a later flight or refund so she could take the animal home.

      1. They redirected her to a flight 9 hr later so that she could make arrangements for her pet, but when she failed to rent a car, she gave up and drowned the poor little thing immediately.

    2. You can be so delicate (really snowflake) as to need an ’emotional support pet’

      It is utterly incomprehensible to me too. Hell, I’ve no illusion at all that flying is dangerous, and the most dangerous thing about it is the untrained morons that make up most of the passengers. But WTF good is having another animal to look after in the event of a (survivable) crash going to do? It’s going to hinder you in your survival efforts, and distract you from using your training to save yourself and any dependent humans.
      Are you sure that humanity is still a single species? I’d be more likely to breed with a bonobo than an anthropoid like this.
      When I first read this story (on the Granuiad website), I thought – “She’s trying to get a free flight home for her pet …” but that doesn’t work either because she’d brought the animal a ticket. So, unless a seated ticket is a LOT cheaper than flying a pet in hold-baggage (more likely, cabin baggage, but not locker baggage) … I’m utterly unable to think of a rational reason to have even started down this line.
      Of course, some people really are morons. How did DNA put it? “It gives me a headache to think down to that level.”

  5. As, as far as I could determine,’Emotional Support Animals’ aren’t regulated at all. And I did some research after a very large lap dog attacked a hapless middle-seat passenger. The note from the doctor, even if real, is worthless. “ESA”s don’t have to follow any rules, unlike highly regulated guide dogs, and they take advantage of a loophole in the laws concerning what airlines have to accept. Basically, your pet can fly free.

    Her own story sounds entirely suspect and I’ll bet that she told- not showed- airline personnel that she had a hamster. It would have to have been in some sort of small cage, easy enough to fake.

    Endless excuses as to why flushing was ‘the only way’, no witnesses, no evidence, just a quick call the the papers and a possible pending lawsuit.

    1. I think Delta and one other airline are now requiring documentation, including vet records and some proof that the animal (if a dog or a kangaroo) has undergone professional training to fly on a plane and be docile.

      1. Oh great. So training kangaroos to be Emotional Support Animals is now going to be a profession.
        Abelard : Is this the bottom of the barrel I see before me?
        Heloise : Shut up and keep scraping.

  6. If I may, I am not convinced about this story…

    From what I read elsewhere, the student with the hamster was refused boarding yes, but this person was then offered another flight (and a compensation voucher which she did not accept) nine hours later which she accepted, and boarded without incident… and the airline heard no more about this until it was ‘in the news’. So plenty of time to see to the well-being of her ‘support hamster’. By all accounts there were plenty of trains available too for the same journey… I call vain, pathetic bullshit from this girl.

    Trying to gain sympathy or a pay-out? Surely not…

    I’m afraid I call ‘bull****’ on at least part of this story.

    Al Lee

    1. You are more generous than I am. I’m betting the whole story was a well orchestrated con. Is her ‘beloved’ Pebbles possibly still at home? All hamsters, do look remarkably alike- “No! This isn’t him- it’s his grieving littermate!” Will anyone check?

      George Will recent wrote “…the proliferation of emotional-support animals suggests that a cult of personal fragility is becoming an aspect of the quest for the coveted status of victim.”

      I predict this is a copycat phase which will continue, using every test animal possible, until the airline loophole is closed.

      1. Yes, I tend to agree. I was suspicious about the Peacock story – not in terms of it actually happening, but in the way it transpired = especially when it was revealed that the woman in question was a ‘performance artist’.

        Anyway, logging off now – I need to spend time with my financial support pangolin…

      2. All hamsters, do look remarkably alike

        Faint memories that some hamster-like popular pet is remarkably inbred. Extremely low genetic diversity resulting from a very small initial population initially brought into the pet trade. It may be hamsters, but I wouldn’t go to the gallows to defend the claim.

  7. In the UK she would almost certainly have to answer to the eternally vigilant RSPCA*, for what they would see as a criminal act. It might even be so.
    *Royal Society for the Protection of Animals.

      1. I don’t know about America, but in the UK, for some species you need to be a licensed slaughter-person to kill an animal. Whether that applies to hamsters, I’m not sure, but it certainly applied to guniea-pigs when I was working the animal house.

  8. 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”.

    Yeah, but… how did they get along with the pets?

    But seriously, dwarf hamsters are like the cutest damned things in the world! Anyone who could flush a live one down the toilet just to have an easy way to get ALL THE WAY from North Florida to South Florida needs a little more than “emotional support”.

    1. ALL THE WAY from North Florida to South Florida

      WTF? That’s like – what 400km? What the absolute fsck? It’d almost be quicker to drive than to fly, given security, getting to/from the airport and blah. Even without hamster-flushing shenanigans.

  9. I’m going to agree with others here that this whole story is just that. Except for the philosophical position of consternation in regards to Support Animals, this story could have been dredged from the venerable Onion.

  10. I’m not convinced about it’s veracity either.
    What, BTW, is the difference between an ‘Emotional Support Animal’ and a pet?

    1. The former is what lazy, unethical therapists tell their pampered, self-centered, precious snowflake clients to get to feed their complete lack of agency and avoidance of responsibility for regulating their own emotional state.

      I’ve had good results with emotionally-troubled youth working with my horses. And it centers on the youth taking responsibility for the animal. Once they take the horse in hand, it is their horse, not mine. They groom it, tack it up, shovel its manure, untack it, groom it again, put it away. When riding, they are responsible for keeping the horse safe and calm, not the other way around. It works wonders.

  11. Doesn’t work with cats. Don’t ask.

    Now that I’ve elevated the discussion, this seems to add more of the story. They say she had a note from her doctor for it, and she was flying off to get a possibly malignant (it wasn’t) growth removed from her neck.

    Sounds kind of rough for her, even if I don’t think at all well of her action.

    Glen Davidson

    1. Ridiculous statement fin the linked article. “This much is beyond dispute: “comfort animals” are for real, and airlines are having to figure out how to deal with them.”

      Although comfort animals may be real, it doesn’t follow that the airlines have to deal with them. Neither I not anyone else is obliged to acquiesce to the demands of your emotional fragility.

  12. A guinea pig on a plane would probably have had me struggling to get the old rescue inhaler and EpiPen.

  13. People like this shouldn’t be allowed to have pets. She spent hours trying to rent a car… surely in much less time she could have donated her pet to a pet shop.

    1. Generally, you can’t rent a car unless you’re 21. But there were options. Find someone in the airport to take the hamster. Take the train or the bus. Cancel your trip and go back to your dorm.

      This is YA example of the completely infantile and narcissist generation we’ve created.

  14. As a trainer and now director of a horse rescue, I’ve had to put down far more than my fair share of animals in my career. But it was only ever when for the animal’s best, and never for my own convenience or pocket book. On the contrary, to attend to sick horses, I’ve stayed up all night and on a couple of occasions ignored my own health to the point of becoming seriously ill.

    I don’t care that this was ‘just’ a hamster — this young woman accepted responsibility for a creature’s well-being, but instead she killed it (in a slow and traumatic fashion, no less) so as not to inconvenience her travel plans.

    This story only confirms my long-standing apprehension about the fad of ’emotional support animals’. Those to whom they are ‘prescribed’ tend to be the least emotionally-disposed to caring for another living creature.

    1. but instead she killed it (in a slow and traumatic fashion, no less

      Certainly not the way the (trained) MLSO and executioner dealt with the Guinea pigs. Fore and index fingers under the jaw and neck, flick of the wrist. Not too hard, or you achieve decapitation. Which is messy. You always get some blood (or shit) on the ceiling.

    2. I couldn’t agree more! I do hope she faces some legal charges for cruelty to animals.

      How can a human not be capable of realizing how horrific being flushed would be?

  15. My cousin flushed a hamster down the airplane toilet too but that was an accident.

    It wasn’t really his fault – if it wasn’t for Britain’s draconian quarantine rules he wouldn’t have had to try smuggling it into the country up his butthole in the first place.

    1. Ummm, your cousin is … Nope, I can’t remember. The rumour was some Hollywood male megastar, but I never cared enough to remember the name.

  16. Update: Not to worry! She immediately went out and got another hamster!

    “She’s only 21 years old, a kid still!” “She’s distraught,” and “Imagine anyone in that situation that has to make a choice like that.”

    Says the kids lawyer for possible lawsuit.

    1. Ah yes, all’s well that ends well.

      I’m really thinking, why did she tell anybody? I can’t think that the story came from anybody but her (who else knew?), and if anyone wanted to know what happened to the hamster, well, ‘it ran away’ should work.

      That she must have thought she was the victim is all that I can figure. And maybe she was a fairly minor victim, until she flushed the poor creature. Hamster took over as victim then,

      Glen Davidson

  17. I will play devil’s advocate and partly defend the girl. We probably all know someone who is terrified of flying and perhaps she was. And we have all seen travelers losing the plot when they have been bumped, or all rental cars are taken or the flight is delayed by 6 hours etc etc. Combined with other emotional problems for which she has the hamster, possibly being sick as one commenter mentioned, having discovered unexpectedly she couldn’t take the pet on the flight and then possibly being told to flush it, I can see how it might have created the perfect emotional storm for her to make a very bad decision.

    1. We probably all know someone who is terrified of flying and perhaps she was.

      I’m terrified of flying. And last week I was trying to arrange a renewal of my HUET (Helicopter Underwater Escape Training) certificate, including the mandatory 6 escapes from a mock up of a helicopter crashing into water and sinking.
      If you’re terrified of flying, the solution is simple : don’t fly. If you value the convenience of flying and the cost, then put up with it.
      I’m not exactly oozing sympathy here, am I?

        1. I’m not awesome. It’s just part of the job. Some people think that a job consists of writing emails in an office. Others don’t.

  18. “Moron of the year” – why is that?
    Could this student act otherwise? No she could not, because she was determined to do so. Therefore, there is no reason to offend her with the shame vocabulary that only serves the good feelings of those who point a finger at them.

    1. If one really wants to demand that the absence of a free will be universally accepted, then one has no right whatsoever to make fun of the behavior of others or to depreciate them in words

      1. So If a student “could not act otherwise,” then the mockery of said student by others is also because they “could not act otherwise.”

        I for example, would have called her a nitwit, not a moron. Is that Determinism speaking through me, or is one of those non-free will non-choices that I am “allowed” to make?

        1. “then the mockery of said student by others is also because they „could not act otherwise.“

          Exactly, those students didn’t know better, therefore they couldn’t do otherwise.
          Imagine that the young woman is mentally handicapped. Would you have called this woman nitwit? I do not think so because you knew that the woman could not have acted otherwise because of her mental disability.
          The point is, even the student, who probably has an average good intelligence quotient, was just as unable not to flush the hamster down the toilet as the hypothetical woman with the mental disability.
          This is what it is all about: determinism applies equally to everyone, there are no degrees of graduated free will.
          But of course, your disappointment that such a point of view would deny you any legitimacy for mocking others is clearly felt.

          1. “ The point is…”
            Leave off the hypotheticals. She was not mentally ill. So why should I imagine anything that was clearly not true, just for your amusement? What is the point?

            “This is what it is all about: determinism applies equally to everyone, there are no degrees of graduated free will.”

            If your description is true, then I also could not “have done otherwise” and written what I just did. And you, of course, then had to write this: “But of course, your disappointment that such a point of view would deny you any legitimacy for mocking others is clearly felt.”

            I found your comment incredibly funny. But then, I had no choice in thinking that, either.

            1. “So why should I imagine anything that was clearly not true, just for your amusement? What is the point?”

              This example was in no way to my amusement. It was intended to illustrate that the student was equally determined to do something bad, as a mentally retarded woman would have been determined to do the same. As a consequence of this determination, it follows that you can not blame this student or that you exposing her publicly with discreditable words.

              Since when are mentally handicapped people treated with criminal law or socially with indulgence? Maybe 100 to 200 years?
              Before that, everyone was punished in the same way, whether mentally healthy or mentally ill.
              Today, people in many parts of the world have accepted that you can not blame people with intellectual disabilities.
              Still unknown to most people is the knowledge that nobody could do otherwise.

              1. OK… let me understand: You are accusing me of being unkind to a imaginary mentally unstable woman. And then extrapolating that I would have deliberately mocked said imaginary mentally unstable woman.

                The woman in question was a 21 yr old woman, who was savvy enough to have a great story, contact a reporter *and* get a lawyer for a possible lawsuit. There is also no real evidence that she even killed the hamster. There is some evidence to suggest she may be a con artist; none to suggest she was mentally ill.

                So that real woman must be bound by the same rules of Determinism that you and I are.

  19. Basically, what people need are those conscious orangutan toys that were in Black Mirror. “Monkey needs a hug”

  20. Given the small size of the few hamsters that I’ve seen, she could have concealed it in a pocket, or indeed, in her bra having first pretended to flush it! Distinct lack of imagination there…

    1. Indeed!

      And for that matter, just what difficulties would a hamster cause? Seems like the easiest ever pet to keep corralled in an under-seat carrier. A small one at that!

  21. Idiots like this should be required to never intentionally come within 1000 feet of any non-human mammal, bird, reptile, fish, or amphibian for the next 10 years. For the same 10 years, they should not be permitted to reproduce or to be in control of anybody else’s small children. No babysitting, for example. They cannot be trusted with anything that’s alive and can’t defend itself.

  22. Update from Snopes what gets to fly:

    “At first glance Spirit Airlines’ online written policies appear at first glance to allow for an emotional support hamster. However, clicking through to “additional policies” brings up a page with a list that includes this bullet point:

    Spirit does not accept snakes, other reptiles, rodents, ferrets, and spiders.

    A version of the policies cached in September 2015 did not stipulate that those specific animals were not permitted, but it is not clear when the page changed to include that information. We contacted Spirit Airlines for further information about the hamster controversy, but have not yet received a response. However, Spirit Airlines spokesperson Derek Dombrowski denied that an employee told Aaldecosea to flush the animal, both in an interview with the Miami Herald, and in later statement:

    “After researching this incident, we can say confidently that at no point did any of our agents suggest this guest (or any other for that matter) should flush or otherwise injure an animal,” Spirit spokesman Derek Dombrowski said. “It is incredibly disheartening to hear this guest reportedly decided to end her own pet’s life.”

    USA Today spoke to Aldeosea’s lawyer Adam Goodman, who, according to the article, “acknowledges there isn’t audio or video proof showing a Spirit employee suggesting she flush her hamster, but he believes his client.”

    Adlecosea says she has a note from her doctor certifying Pebbles as an emotional support animal, and that she obtained the hamster to help her cope with a growth on her neck. The growth turned out to be benign, but still had to be surgically removed, and she was on her way to Florida to undergo surgery when the alleged incident occurred.”

    1. ‘Pebbles’?

      May I suggest that next time she gets a pet rock?

      (And no, don’t flush that either, it can play hell with small sewage pumps)

      … oozing about as much sympathy as the Gravelinspector…

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