APRIL 17, 2016 UPDATE: The dog smuggling charges against Johnny Depp’s wife, Amber Heard, were dropped today.
It was pretty harsh when Australia’s Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce announced that the two Yorkshire Terriers Johnny Depp sneaked into the country earlier this month would be euthanized if they weren’t “buggered off back to the U.S.,” as Joyce put it.
Depp, who is filming another sequel to “Pirates of the Caribbean” on the Gold Coast, apparently thought he could get around Australia’s pet quarantine laws last month by flying his Yorkies, Boo and Pistol, into the country and hiding them in a handbag at the airport.
The contraband canines were discovered when an assistant took them to a groomer, who posted their photos on social media.
Like many countries (and Hawaii), Australia has strict quarantine laws for imported pets in order to prevent the spread of diseases like rabies. People traveling with their dogs must first apply for a permit. The length of the quarantine period varies; in Australia, it’s a minimum of 10 days.
Joyce’s threat to have Boo and Pistol killed made international headlines and sparked the social media campaign #WarOnTerrier. Nearly 22,000 people signed a Change.org petition urging the agriculture minister to spare the dogs’ lives.
On May 15, Depp’s wife, Amber Heard, flew back to California with Boo and Pistol on the private jet.
But Depp may still have to pay a harsh price (besides the cost of all that expensive jet fuel) for trying to sidestep Australia’s quarantine laws.
During a senate hearing yesterday at the Parliament House in Canberra, government officials decided that if the case goes to court, the actor could face up to 10 years in prison or a maximum fine of $340,000, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
The pilot of his private jet is also facing up to two years in prison for not declaring the dogs.
“The dog thing — we’ll get that out of the way quickly,” said a member of the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Committee at the beginning of the meeting, according to the Herald.
Last night, Depp and Heard flew back to California (yep, on their private jet) to celebrate the 16th birthday of Depp’s daughter, Lily-Rose, the Brisbane Times reports.
Neither Depp or Heard has publicly commented on the case.
Photo via Twitter