Australia made international headlines in March for mass-murdering koalas. Will Johnny Depp’s pet dogs be next?
Authorities accuse the 51-year-old actor, who is on the Gold Coast shooting the fifth Pirates of the Caribbean film, and his wife, actress Amber Heard, of illegally smuggling in their two Yorkshire terriers, Pistol and Boo, on his private jet last month.
A lack of declaration would constitute a breach of Australia’s biosecurity and import laws, which require that dogs brought into the country be quarantined for at least 10 days. On Thursday, authorities issued their ultimatum: Either Depp gets Pistol and Boo out of Australia by this Saturday, or the government will have no choice but to kill the adorable little dogs.
(You can check out a “live countdown ticker to the dog death deadline” right here.)
Australia’s biosecurity laws are famously strict. In 2013, the Agriculture Department even launched an investigation into Katy Perry album’s Prism because its packaging included a packet of flower seeds. And the minister for agriculture isn’t screwing around this time, either, no matter how famous Depp may be.
“If we start letting movie stars—even though they’ve been the sexiest man alive twice—to come into our nation [and break the laws], then why don’t we just break the laws for everybody?” Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce said on Thursday. “It’s time that Pistol and Boo buggered off back to the United States.”
The dogs were not taken into custody by department officials and were allowed to remain at Depp’s rented mansion. The actor’s publicist did not respond to a request for comment from The Daily Beast on whether there is an extraction plan in place for Pistol and Boo—but recent reports indicate that Depp is wisely planning to get them the hell out of the country.
“If he doesn’t take Boo and Pistol back, we do have to euthanize them,” said Joyce, who’s been agriculture minister since September 2013. “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…So this is not fanciful stuff, and therefore we’re very diligent about what comes into our nation.”
Joyce is no stranger to speaking his mind, previously slamming PETA as an “an extremist group that wants to end livestock production and to irreparably damage the economy and the reputation of Australian farmers,” publicly questioning climate change, and staunchly opposing abortion. He conceded Thursday that his threat against the lives of Depp’s pets likely guarantees that “Mr. Depp [won’t] be inviting me to the grand opening of the Pirates of the Caribbean.”
Just this week, Joyce was lauding the passage through the Australian Senate of a “historic” biosecurity bill. “The new legislation is an important part of deciding on the future of Australia’s biosecurity system,” he said in a statement. “It will protect our vital agricultural industries and underpin the capacity for our nation to produce and export the highest quality, clean, and sustainably produced soft commodities to the world.”