Basketballer caught flying into Australia with pet bulldog in hand luggage

Patterson uploaded a pic of Kobe

A former National Basketball Association player has been fined for smuggling a dog into Australia in his hand luggage, breaking the country's strict bio-security laws.

Patterson, who recently signed for the Brisbane Bullets, had the pooch - called Kobe - in his carry-on when he arrived in Australia on Thursday.

Patterson, who formerly played for the Atlanta Hawks, often features his dog on social media.

The dog was taken into quarantine and is to be deported to the USA on Friday, authorities said.

Patterson had flown on internal United States flights that allowed Kobe onboard, before taking a Qantas flight from Los Angeles to Brisbane where the dog went unnoticed.

Bullets coach Andrej Lemanis said the club had to take some blame for not schooling Patterson about Australia's strict quarantine laws.

Patterson said the only reason a well-behaved Kobe was discovered was because he barked at customs search dogs at the airport.

"When he got to the airport, he asked if he could take his dog and the response was yes and it was even on his boarding pass that he was travelling with his dog". And Patterson was surprised by all the fuss.

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On Friday morning Kobe was placed on a flight back to LA.

"His understanding from the feedback received from the airlines was that he was able to travel with the dog provided it was noted on his ticket, which he complied with", the statement read. "It was a miscommunication with the airlines".

The case gained global attention after the now-divorced couple got into a public spat with former Australian Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce, who threatened to euthanize the dogs.

The case is reminiscent of the Johnny Depp "war on terrier" saga - when the Hollywood star and his then-wife Amber Heard fell foul of Australia's strict quarantine laws in failing to declare pets Pistol and Boo on arrival on a private jet in 2015.

Heard later pleaded guilty in a Queensland court of falsifying quarantine documents and copped a $1000 fine.

Dogs are only allowed to enter Australia if they meet the country's stringent pre-import requirements, and once they arrive they must undergo a minimum of 10 days in government quarantine.

Patterson is expected to suit up for the Bullets in Adelaide on Sunday despite his brush with Australian customs officials.

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