Tourist Sneaks Cat Into Iceland, and Iceland Kills the Cat

Swiss woman also gets billed for disinfecting her camper
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 26, 2017 8:21 AM CDT
Updated Apr 30, 2017 10:33 AM CDT
Tourist Sneaks Cat Into Iceland, and Iceland Kills the Cat
A tour guide points out the seven regions of Iceland.   (Inspired by Iceland via AP Images)

Iceland's beauty attracts more than a million travelers from around the world every year, and a tourist just learned the hard way that the country doesn't mess around when it comes to protecting its turf. A Swiss woman in her 60s entered the country in her camper by ferry and snuck her cat in along with her. Under Icelandic law, pets entering the country can only pass through Keflavík International Airport, must have the proper paperwork, and must be quarantined for a month, reports the Iceland Review. Police acting on a tip arrested the woman in Höfn in southeastern Iceland within two hours of her arrival and promptly brought her cat to a vet, where it was killed. They're also billing the woman for disinfecting her camper van.

Some are calling the measure extreme, though Travel and Leisure notes that Iceland has a delicate ecosystem to protect, and that many diseases found in animals all over the world have never been detected in Iceland—including rabies. The argument in favor of the tough measure is that the island's animals could be devastated by just one undeclared animal unwittingly introducing a disease for which the native population has no immunity. Iceland Magazine reports that this isn't the first time a cat has been smuggled onto the island only to be euthanized. In 2003, police put down a French couple's cat they'd hidden in their RV. (There are now about two feral cats per human in Hawaii.)

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