Johnny Depp’s dogs face death in Australia
Johnny Depp’s pet dogs Pistol and Boo have been ordered by Australia to return to Hollywood or face being put down.
The American actor had flown his terriers into the country illegally.
The 51-year-old, who is in Australia to film "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales", was given the grim warning by Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce on Thursday (May 14).
"Just because he’s Johnny Depp does not mean he’s exempt from Australian law," said the minister.
Australia has strict rules to keep disease at bay, requiring cats and dogs from the US to spend at least 10 days in quarantine.
But Depp appears to have ignored the rules, arriving in Brisbane last month with the Yorkshire terriers in tow without declaring them to customs. The Hollywood star flew them in on his private jet.
"There is a process if you want to bring animals. You get the permits, they go into quarantine and then you can have them," said Mr Joyce.
'Breaches of biosecurity'
The minister said he became aware that Depp had the dogs with him after they were spotted being taken to a groomer.
A photo of Depp's dogs being groomed in a shop in the Gold Coast. PHOTO: HAPPY DOGZ GROOMING
"It's time that Pistol and Boo buggered off back to the United States," added Mr Joyce. "He can send them back or we will have to euthanise them."
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton weighed into the issue, saying Depp could face large fines for breaching quarantine procedure.
He told Fairfax radio it was a serious matter "because if you have breaches of biosecurity, it can have big impacts".
Depp has been given 50 hours to get the dogs out of the country or face the consequences.
An online petition on change.org to save Pistol and Boo gathered more than 3,500 signatures within hours.
Depp with one of his dogs. PHOTO: PINTEREST
One person commented: "What sort of bad publicity will Australia get if we execute a very high profile screen actor’s pets?"
Another wrote: "The dogs are innocent animals in this political issue."
The hashtag #WarOnTerrier quickly became the top-trending topic on Twitter Down Under.
One Twitter user said: "The day’s gone to the dogs", while another noted: "Not surprising really. Pirates not the type for obeying border quarantine laws".
Depp, who stars as Captain Jack Sparrow in the Disney franchise, has been shooting on the Gold Coast tourist strip in Australia’s east.
"Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales" is the fifth instalment in the blockbuster series, which has raked in more than US$3.6 billion (S$4.8b) at the box office.