Johnny Depp’s dogs Pistol and Boo are facing lethal injection or deportation after the US actor brought them to Australia illegally.
However, Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce this morning told the BBC the actor’s pets will likely be sent back to their home in the United States.
“I personally as a minister don’t have Mr Depp’s phone number, nor does he have mine,” Joyce told the BBC.
“But my department is informed they are organising for the dogs to be sent back to the United States.
“I’d say that is the wisest move.”
It is now being reported that Depp and wife Amber Heard are leaving the country tonight, before the deadline lapses and Pistol and Boo are seized.
Joyce told ABC 612 Brisbane yesterday that the two Yorkshire terriers came to his attention after they were seen at a dog groomer, Happy Dogz, on the Gold Coast.
Under Australian biosecurity laws, any dog must complete a minimum 10-day period in an Australian quarantine facility, or “it may be returned to the country of export or euthanized at the importer’s expense”.
The Department of Agriculture is now investigating after it realised the dogs were brought to Australia on Depp’s private plane last month.
Australia has extremely strict quarantine regulations because so much of its flora and fauna are unique, and sometimes have no inbuilt resistance to foreign disease or bacteria. Australia has had painful experiences with quarantines breaches with the introduction of species form beyond its borders, famously in the case of rabbits and canes toads. Ports and airports have some of the toughest rules screening measures in the world, and the quarantine rules are enforced very strictly.
In the case of dogs, the concern is around the introduction of rabies which is currently not found in Australia.
So basically, Australia is worried Johnny Depp’s dogs might have rabies.
Depp is currently in Australia filming the latest “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie.
Joyce remained staunch on the rules, saying: “Just because he’s Johnny Depp doesn’t make him exempt from Australian laws”.
“You get the permits, they go into quarantine and then you can have them,” he said on ABC 612 Brisbane, before delivering the winning lines:
“But if we start letting movie stars even though they’ve been the sexiest man alive twice to come into our nation, then why don’t we just break the laws for everybody?
“It’s time that Pistol and Boo buggered off back to the United States.”
He gave Depp 50 hours to remove the dogs from the country on Thursday.
But not everyone is pro-dog eviction.
In response to Joyce’s remarks, the shadow minister for agriculture Joel Fitzgibbon has criticised Joyce for passing the buck.
“Barnaby Joyce has chosen to blame and threaten Johnny Depp’s two cute puppies for a serious failing in our biosecurity system,” the minister said.
“This is just a distraction from the key issue; how was the breach of our border security allowed to occur in the first place?
“Instead of grandstanding before the media, Barnaby Joyce should be answering the hard questions about the breach and what role his biosecurity funding cuts may have played.”
Happy Dogz owner Lianne Kent told Business Insider she “hopes all goes well” for Boo and Pistol.
“They were the best dogs to groom; they were very good,” she said.
“Have a heart Barnaby! Don’t kill these cute puppies,” reads the petition.
Heard posted this photo of Pistol the dog just four days ago.
Read more here.