Canadians sent home for trying to sneak cat into New Zealand
A Canadian woman who authorities say managed to hide her 4-year-old pet cat Bella in her handbag during a trans-Pacific flight had her vacation cut short when border agents discovered the ruse at a New Zealand airport. The woman was refused entry into the country and she, her husband and the cat were forced to catch the next flight home, Ministry for Primary Industries spokesman Craig Hughes said Thursday. He called the woman’s actions “reckless and dangerous.”
New Zealand has strict regulations for importing pets. Cats and dogs from most approved countries must have an implanted microchip and be quarantined for a minimum of 10 days after arrival. Hughes said the couple, both in their mid- to late-20s, managed to conceal the cat from the flight crew and other passengers during the 7,000-mile (11,300-kilometer) flight from Vancouver to Auckland.
“Apparently it was a very quiet cat. Very docile,” Hughes said, adding that it may have been drugged to make it drowsy. He said the traveling couple said they had nothing to declare upon arrival but border agents then determined their muddy boots needed inspecting. Agents then moved the couple’s bags to an X-ray machine. —AP