Amber Heard, wife of superstar Johnny Depp, has pleaded not guilty to charges she illegally attempted to smuggle her two dogs into Australia, and she will face trial in early 2016, the Daily Mail is reporting.
Heard, who was not present for the court proceedings against her, entered the plea through her attorney. She does, however, intend to return down under for her trial, if and when that may be.
Back in May, Heard touched off something of an international incident when she flew into Australia by private jet, bringing her two dogs, Boo and Pistol, with her. Unfortunately, she neglected to follow proper procedure, which involves declaring the animals to Australian customs as well as a ten-day quarantine of the dogs, and instead brought them straight to the home where she was staying. Heard was in Australia to visit with husband Johnny Depp, who at the time was filming scenes for the upcoming fifth installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.
— 7News Yahoo7 (@Y7News) December 7, 2015
Although bringing a couple of family pets on vacation without proper paperwork may seem like a trivial thing, the Australian government was not amused. Australia has strict biosecurity laws — laws intended to keep disease such as rabies, as well as invasive species, out of the country. One Australian who was particularly outraged about Heard’s dogs was Australia’s Agriculture Minister, Barnaby Joyce. He publicly threatened to have the dogs euthanized. And he wasn’t kidding, according to Huffington Post.
“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. I’ll tell you how close it is: it’s in Bali, it’s just next door. So this is not fanciful stuff, and therefore we’re very diligent about what comes into our nation.”
He also had little patience for Johnny Depp.
“If we start letting movie stars, even if they’ve been the ‘Sexiest Man Alive’ twice, then why don’t we just break the laws for everybody? So it’s time that Pistol and Boo bugger off back to the United States and after that I don’t expect to be invited to the opening of Pirates of the Caribbean.”
Eventually, cooler heads prevailed, and Depp got his and Heard’s dogs out of the country before any blood was spilled. Joyce expressed his glee on Twitter.
Dogs gone. — Barnaby Joyce (@Barnaby_Joyce) May 15, 2015
Although she got her dogs out of Australia before they met the executioner’s sword (so to speak), she’s far from out of the woods legally. In July she was charged with two counts of illegal importation of animals into Australia in violation of quarantine laws, and one count of producing a false document, according to E! Online. If convicted on all three charges she faces up to $20,000 in fines and up to ten years in prison.
— etalk (@etalkCTV) December 7, 2015
In a statement, Heard said that she intends to come to Australia to fight the charges against her.
“My decision to defend [these] charges, as will become apparent in the appropriate forum of the Court, is not intended to in any way diminish the importance of Australia’s laws.”
Johnny Depp also said that he would appear at the trial, if called as a witness, although he doesn’t want his presence to be a “disruption” to the court.
Amber Heard’s legal team is currently trying to work out a trial date with the courts.
[Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images]