APRIL 17, 2016 UPDATE: The dog smuggling charges against Johnny Depp’s wife, Amber Heard, were dropped today.
Apparently Johnny Depp thought he could get around Australia’s pet quarantine laws last month by smuggling his Yorkshire Terriers, Boo and Pistol, into the country on his private jet.
Yesterday the Agriculture Department gave Depp and his wife, Amber Heard, 72 hours to get Boo and Pistol out of Australia. If they do not comply, both dogs will be euthanized.
“If you start letting movie stars — even though they’ve been the sexiest man alive twice — to come into our nation (with pets), then why don’t we just break laws for everybody?” Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce told the Associated Press (AP).
“It’s time that Pistol and Boo buggered off back to the U.S.”
Like many countries (and Hawaii here in the U.S.), Australia has strict quarantine laws for imported pets. The purpose is to prevent the spread of diseases like rabies. People traveling with their dogs to these countries must first apply for a permit. The length of the quarantine period varies; in Australia, it’s a minimum of 10 days.
“The reason you can walk through a park in Brisbane and not have in the back of your mind, ‘What happens if a rabid dog comes out and bites me or bites my kid?’ is because we’ve kept that disease out,” Joyce told ABC 612 Brisbane. “I’ll tell you how close it is: it’s in Bali, it’s just next door. So this is not fanciful stuff, and therefore we’re very diligent about what comes into our nation.”
Pistol and Boo were first seen in public Saturday, when one of Depp’s assistants brought them in a handbag to a groomer in Brisbane. On Tuesday, Joyce said a biosecurity officer found the dogs staying in a house on the Gold Coast, where Depp is filming another sequel to “Pirates of the Caribbean.”
Pistol and Boo are currently being quarantined at home, according to Brett Chant, a spokesman for Joyce.
Chant told the AP that the Agriculture Department is investigating how the dogs managed to arrive at Brisbane Airport last month without going through customs.
Joyce’s threat is making worldwide headlines and has sparked the social media campaign #WarOnTerrier, where people are expressing their outrage that Pistol and Boo may be killed. A Change.org petition urging the agriculture minister to spare the dogs’ lives had more than 12,000 signatures as of Thursday morning.
There’s also some outrage that Depp apparently thought he was above the law.
“Can we just put him down and keep the dogs maybe?” wrote one Twitter user.
In Parliament this week, Joel Fitzgibbon, a spokesman for the opposition Labor Party, asked if Depp was able to smuggle in his dogs because of cuts to the Agriculture Department’s quarantine funding.
Fitzgibbon said Joyce was “bashing up on poor old Boo Boo and Pistol and, indeed, Johnny Depp,” according to the AP.
Depp has not yet commented on what he plans to do.
Photo via Twitter