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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 20 November 2018

US basketball player's dog quarantined on landing in Australia

Lamar Patterson brought his dog Kobe into the country without the proper paperwork.

Cabin crew failed to notice the small dog. Reuters
Cabin crew failed to notice the small dog. Reuters

An American basketball player who flew into Brisbane with his French bulldog placed inside his hand luggage has run afoul of Australia's quarantine laws.

Brisbane Bullets recruit Lamar Patterson was briefly detained after landing in Brisbane on Thursday with his dog, Kobe.

The 27-year-old Patterson, who played college basketball at the University of Pittsburgh, has since been released. But Kobe was kept in quarantine and will be sent home on Friday, Australia's agriculture department said.

Officials said the cabin crew on Patterson's Qantas flight from Los Angeles failed to notice that the dog was on board without an import permit.

The Bullets, who play in the National Basketball League, say it was an innocent mistake, not a deliberate attempt to flout Australia's strict quarantine laws.

It's not the first time a US citizen has fallen foul of Australia's strict quarantine laws. In 2015, Actor Johnny Depp and then-wife Amber Heard created a minor row when they brought their two dogs Pistol and Boo into the country on a private jet without declaring them to Australian customs.

The incident was jokingly dubbed the 'War on Terrier' by the Australian public as the country's agriculture minister threatened the dogs would be put down if the dogs were not flown back to the US within days.

Barnaby Joyce said at the time: "Despite the hype and sensation surrounding the dogs’ owners, Australia has strict bio-security requirements for good reasons – to protect Australia from exotic pests and diseases that can seriously harm humans, animals and our economy.”

After paying a $1,000 fine, Ms Heard offered to make a video of apology for flouting Australian law. The dogs were safely flown back to the US.