Johnny Depp’s wife, Amber Heard, has been charged with illegally bringing their dogs to Australia in May, and faces 10 years in prison, as well as fines as high as $75,000.
The actress and Depp had brought two Yorkshire terriers into the country earlier this year on a private jet without quarantining them. Depp was in Australia to film the next installment of Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise.
Australia has strict policies on animal, food and agricultural importation. Laws required Heard and Depp to begin the approval process six months in advance of their visit. Proper steps include several visits to a vet in the United States and a 10-day stay for the two puppies, Pistol and Boo, in a quarantine center in Australia.
Heard has been charged with two counts of illegally importing Pistol and Boo into Australia. If found guilty, the “Pineapple Express” star faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison or a fine of $75,000.
The actress was also charged on one count of producing a false document, which could get her one year in prison or a fine of $7,500, the Commonwealth Department of Public Prosecutions said.
The actress, who was most recently seen in “Magic Mike XXL,” was summoned to a Queensland court on Sept. 7. Bill Potts, a criminal defense attorney based in Brisbane, has said that even if she is convicted, Heard is unlikely to face a long jail term, since the dogs were flown back to the U.S. before a 72-hour deadline.
“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,” Potts had told ABC. “Was there a risk? Potentially, but not actually. And I’m sure the court will take all of those things into account.”
Indeed, officials had given Depp and Heard 72 hours to send the puppies back to the U.S., warning that the dogs would otherwise be euthanized.
“The way this works is if we are going to make an excuse for Johnny Depp because he’s got a private jet and brought in his dogs then I suppose you have to start making exemptions and excuses for everybody,”Australian agriculture minister Barnaby Joyce had said in an interview with ABC Brisbane. “It’s time that Pistol and Boo buggered off back to the United States.”
Heard’s representatives did not yet respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.