A cat-loving woman has been sent home by New Zealand customs officials after they found a feline hiding in her handbag.
The unnamed woman who arrived from Vancouver, had the feline in the small carry-on bag. That’s a 14-hour flight, by the way.
She declared “dirty boots” to officials, then later confessed that she had the pet on her person when Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) staff attempted to x-ray her bag.
“She was very reluctant to have the hand bag x-rayed, saying it had already been checked by our quarantine officers. She only revealed the cat after we insisted the bag will have to undergo further biosecurity checks,” Craig Hughes, from the MPI, said in a statement.
Due to the find, the woman was refused entry and hence forced to return back to Canada on the next available flight.
She claimed she told officials of her cat when she bought her ticket, but New Zealand authorities were having none of it.
“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. The passenger clearly decided those rules didn’t apply to her,” Hughes said.
It’s not the first time someone’s tried to smuggle living things in their carry-on luggage.
In March, a woman was arrested after a four-year-old child was found in one of her bags on an Air France flight.
While in April, a man was sentenced to five years’ jail for repeatedly smuggling turtles out of the U.S., including one occasion where he was found with 51 turtles attached to his legs at the Ontario, Canada border.