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Funny Old World

“There’s absolutely no sense of humour at American check-ins nowadays, and for a while I was quite scared,” Dave Rogerson told reporters after landing at Philadelphia airport. “I tried to explain that it was just a toy, but they told me that it had produced the highest reading for explosives they’d ever encountered, and took it very very seriously. They were very jumpy, and were utterly convinced that there must be something explosive in the dog.”

Rogerson, a page designer from Leeds, was explaining what had happened to him at Norfolk Airport in Virginia, prior to boarding his flight. “When the security staff began examining my luggage, they came across my novelty toy dog. It’s an hilarious life-size mechanical terrier that farts when it bends over, then belches while its eyes revolve and light up, and for some reason the gas inside registered as high-explosive TNT on their equipment. I couldn’t believe it when the FBI arrived wearing rubber gloves and began taking swabs from the animal’s rear end, and I was really scared when they took me away for questioning.

What made things worse was that I’d placed my passport and boarding card under the dog before it went on the scanner, and that had been placed in an isolation zone under suspicion of being a bomb, so I couldn’t even give the agents my papers when they demanded them. I got a real grilling from the FBI over several hours, but eventually they decided that the dog was harmless, and let me go.

They even let me have the dog back, although it doesn’t fart anymore.”

The Register, 27th October 2003

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