Don't let the cat out of the bag: passengers pack their pet in checked luggage
Don't let the cat out of the bag: passengers pack their pet in checked luggage

Passengers charged with animal cruelty after stowing pet cat in checked luggage

A six-month-old cat was discovered in a couple’s suitcase

Helen Coffey
Monday 08 January 2018 17:10

A couple from Florida has been charged with animal cruelty after their pet cat was discovered in checked luggage when they were attempting to fly from Erie International Airport in Pennsylvania to Tampa, Florida, on New Year’s Day.

Olivia Sari and Nicholas Larrison, both 21, were heading home after the Christmas holidays on 1 January when their six-month-old cat, named Slim, was found stowed in a piece of luggage filled with clothes.

The airport baggage inspection system alerted Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials that the bag required extra checks, reports the Erie Times-News. Staff opened the bag to find the feline inside.

Ian Bogle, the airport’s director of public safety and facilities, called the incident: “A poor decision made on the customers’ part.”

Bogle told the Erie Times-News that each airline has its own system for flying with pets; packing an animal into a piece of checked luggage “is not the recommended way,” he said.

The pair faces fines for “transporting animals in a cruel manner” and packing the cat “without food, air or water” according to police.

Sari and Larrison have not yet entered pleas to the charges.

Bogle said Slim the cat was given to the Humane Society of Northwestern Pennsylvania, an animal shelter in Erie County, to look after.

It’s not the first time passengers have tried to check in an unusual item. The Independent reported on the strangest things travellers have tried to take on Virgin Atlantic flights. These included live goldfish, a car bumper, a fridge freezer, a bath tub, a bed headboard, tyres and an entire cow carcass.

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