Authorities: Canadian tried to smuggle cat into New Zealand

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Authorities say a Canadian woman hid her pet cat in her handbag during a 7,000-mile (11,300-kilometer) flight from Vancouver and tried to smuggle it into New Zealand but was caught by border security agents at Auckland Airport.

Ministry for Primary Industries spokesman Craig Hughes said Thursday the woman was refused entry into the country and was forced to catch the next flight back home with Bella, her 4-year-old tabby cat. He said the woman’s actions were “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 kept in quarantine for a minimum of 10 days after arrival.

Hughes said that after arriving in Auckland, the woman was “very reluctant” to have her handbag X-rayed.