A young woman en route to London opted to simply abandon her cat in its cage at Oslo’s main airport at Gardermoen on Monday, allegedly hiding it behind other luggage in a remote corner of the main terminal. She’d been denied a ticket to fly with the cat in the cabin, reported local newspaper Eidsvoll Ullensaker Blad.
The woman now faces police charges of cruelty to animals. “It’s serious when someone subjects an animal to that kind of treatment,” Solfrid Nyheim, a police sergeant stationed at the airport, told state broadcaster NRK. “There are better solutions for taking care of a pet when you go out traveling.”
Nyheim said the woman with the cat was turned away by personnel of Norwegian Air, where spokesman Lasse Sandaker-Nielsen said it’s illegal to fly with pets in the cabin on international flights. If animals are sent as cargo, space and arrangements must be made in advance.
The woman then left the counter but returned shortly thereafter, without the cat. Norwegian Air staff became suspicious and went out looking for the cat, finding it in its cage, stashed at the other end of the terminal. “Then they brought the cat to us,” Nyheim told NRK.
When police confronted the woman, she claimed a friend had come to pick up the cat, “but when we went through our surveillance pictures we saw that was something she made up.” She’s since been reported to police and the cat as been turned over to an animal protection group in Lillestrøm.
“We can’t deliver the cat back to an owner who treats it in that way,” Nyheim said. The incident occurred on the same day that the Norwegian government announced new efforts to fight animal cruelty cases, through a new program between state animal and food safety authorities at Mattilsynet and the police.