Kitty smuggler lets cat out of the bag in New Zealand
22 Dec 2016 - 8:24
Wellington: A cat-crazy Canadian woman who tried to smuggle her pet into New Zealand in a handbag was immediately sent home after being caught at Auckland airport, officials said Thursday, criticising her "very stupid" attempt.
Officials condemned the hapless bid to circumvent strict biosecurity laws after the woman arrived Wednesday on a 15-hour flight from Vancouver and declared only that she had dirty boots.
She failed to mention the cat secreted in her bag, only revealing its existence when officials insisted it must be X-rayed.
"Immigration officials refused the woman entry permission to the country. She was forced to return to Canada with her cat on the next available flight," The Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) said.
As a result, the woman missed out on visiting New Zealand but has a feline frequent flyer, which has travelled about 23,000 kilometres (14,300 miles) from Vancouver to Auckland and back.
"We believe this was a deliberate and very stupid attempt at smuggling. There are strict biosecurity rules in place to stop imported cats and dogs from introducing pests and diseases into New Zealand," MPI added.
"The passenger clearly decided those rules didn't apply to her."