The Australian authorities have told husband-and-wife actors Johnny Depp and Amber Heard that they have less than 48 hours to take their two dogs and “bugger off back to the United States”.
A minister accused the Hollywood couple of smuggling Yorkshire terriers Pistol and Boo into the country on board their private jet when Depp, 51, returned to resume filming for the fifth Pirates of the Caribbean film.
The pets were not declared to quarantine officials and, amid an ongoing debate over Australia’s generally strict immigration rules, the authorities have said Pistol and Boo will be euthanised if they are not gone by Saturday.
The Australian Agriculture Minister, Barnaby Joyce, gave an extraordinary press conference to reporters on Thursday in which he suggested Depp could “put [the dogs] on the same charter jet he flew in on and fly back out of our nation”.
“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?” he said.
“Mr Depp has to either take his dogs back to California or we're going to have to euthanise them. It's time that Pistol and Boo buggered off back to the United States.”
The Agriculture Department said it had heard about the dogs after a handler was seen taking them in a handbag to a dog groomer on the Gold Coast on Saturday. Officials said the dogs were found at a home on Wednesday, and that they were believed to have been in the country since they were “snuck in” by Depp when he returned to Australia on 21 April.
Joyce's spokesman Brett Chant said the dogs were now in “home quarantine”, but would not say where. He said no decision had yet been made on whether further action will be taken against Depp for breaking quarantine laws.
A petition has already been set up to plead with Joyce not to “kill these cute dogs simply because Depp didn’t follow particular rules” and begging the minister to “have a heart”.
But Joyce seems unlikely to be swayed, and said he’d take personal responsibility if the department killed the animals. “After that, I don't expect to be invited to the opening of Pirates of the Caribbean,” he said.
Depp's spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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