In a sign that Australia could care less whether you’re a regular Joe or a card-carrying Hollywood star, Mrs. Johnny Depp, AKA Amber Heard, has been slapped with charges for smuggling her beloved pooches into the country earlier this year.
The Yorkshire terriers, Pistol and Boo, were famously threatened with a death sentence if they didn’t high-tail their furry butts back to America back in May. Heard and Depp ushered their pets from the country just in time, but it seems Australia hasn’t forgotten the incident.
The alleged smuggling is a big deal because the island has strict quarantine regulations against any pets coming into the country, who could be carriers of rabies and other diseases. And, of course, pampered celeb pooches like Amber’s can just as easily have rabies as a blue collar canine.
As soon as Heard and Depp’s private jet landed in his territory, Department of Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce sniffed out the illegal doggies.
“The law is the same for everybody. There is no preferential treatment here. You come into our nation, you have to abide biosecurity protocols,” he said, according to the Associated Press.
According to the New York Daily News, Amber Heard is facing some serious charges: two counts illegally importing the dogs and one count of producing a false document for information on an incoming passenger car. Heard could also get 10 years in prison on each importation charge and a $75,000 fine. The document charges come with a year in prison and $7,500 fine.
And Amber Heard must produce her famous person back in an Australian court come September, something she had sworn never to do in rather snotty comments made recently on Australian TV: she said “certain politicians” have made her lose interest in the country.
“I guess everyone tries to go for their 15 minutes, including some government officials.”
The confrontation with Joyce was very public and very unpleasant, to be sure. Some criticized the minister for being a bit too harsh on the pooches, but he did have a point — the law applies to everyone.
“If we 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 the laws for everybody?” he said in May. “It’s time that Pistol and Boo buggered off back to the United States.”
Or else. Barnaby warned Amber and Johnny that the dogs would be euthanized if they didn’t “bugger off,” and just shy of a 72-hour window to do so, the little criminals were escorted from their mansion in Queensland to the airport, and eventual safety.
It’s unknown whether Depp will also face charges, and authorities wouldn’t comment as to why he hadn’t yet. And it’s unlikely that Amber Heard will ever see the inside of a jail unless it’s a movie set, said Aussie criminal defense attorney Bill Potts.
“The seriousness of the offense is not whether two little puppies — who look like they could give you a nasty nip on the ankle — are dreadful animals, it’s about the risk to biosecurity. Barnaby Joyce, the minister, told them in colorful language to bugger off — they did. Was there a risk? Potentially, but not actually. And I’m sure the court will take all of those things into account.”
What do you think? Is the Aussie government right in treating celebs like Amber Heard the same as any other law-breaking visitor? Or is this a major waste of everyone’s time? Sound off in the comments.
[Photo Courtesy Tibrina Hobson/Getty Images]