For many, a squirrel climbing up their body would create a significant amount of anxiety, but not for this woman on a Frontier Airlines flight. We’ve heard of emotional support peacocks before, but Tuesday evening was the first time a passenger tried to bring a squirrel on board, and yes, it went exactly how you’d expect.
Although Cindy Torok indicated in her reservation that she would be bringing an emotional support animal on board, she never mentioned that it was a squirrel. Since the airline doesn’t allow rodents — only dogs and cats — she was asked to leave the plane. She refused, police were called, and everyone was forced to deplane. Once Torok was removed, the flight from Orlando to Cleveland resumed as scheduled.
Torok told Fox 8 News Cleveland that she got the squirrel to help with her anxiety in crowds. According to her, she told flight attendants, “You’re not taking my squirrel. Sorry, you’re not. I refuse. You will not take my baby from me.” She added that she was “treated very poorly” and “called a liar by one of the stewardesses.” Frontier reimbursed Torok and gave her a voucher for another flight.
Torok is not just a “squirrel person,” however. She also owns lizards and bearded dragons, which she thankfully did not try to bring aboard.
While TSA screens animals and may let them through security, it’s up to the airline to determine if a particular animal is actually permitted on the flight. Recently, airlines have been cracking down on what is considered an acceptable emotional support animal as fliers have been bringing increasingly ridiculous pets aboard, including turkeys, sugar gliders, snakes, spiders, and more. Now, we can add squirrels to the list.