Canadian who tried to smuggle cat into New Zealand sent home | world-news | Hindustan Times
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Canadian who tried to smuggle cat into New Zealand sent home

world Updated: Dec 22, 2016 17:36 IST
AFP, Wellington

This handout photo taken on December 21, 2016 and released by New Zealand's Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) shows a cat being held at Auckland Airport after it was discovered in a Canadian woman's handbag upon arrival from Vancouver. (AFP)

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.”