Amber Heard has been charged with smuggling dogs into Australia.
The incident captured global attention after Australia’s agriculture minister angrily ordered the pooches to get out of the country or face death.
Johnny Depp’s wife was charged this week with two counts of illegally importing Pistol and Boo into Australia and one count of producing a false document, the Commonwealth Department of Public Prosecutions said on July 16.
The importation charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of 102,000 Australian dollars ($75,000). The false document charge, which relates to information on an incoming passenger card, carries a penalty of up to one year in prison and a fine of AU$10,200.
The scandal began in May, after Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce accused Johnny Depp, 52, of smuggling the couple’s Yorkshire terriers aboard his private jet when he returned to Australia to resume filming of the fifth movie in the Pirates of the Caribbean series.
Australia has strict quarantine regulations to prevent diseases such as rabies from spreading to its shores. Bringing pets into the country involves applying for a permit and quarantine on arrival of at least 10 days.
Amber Heard has been summoned to appear in court over allegations that she smuggled the couple’s dogs into Australia.
Johnny Depp’s came under fire in April for failing to declare Yorkshire terriers Pistol and Boo to authorities on their arrival in Brisbane.
Australia has strict animal quarantine laws to prevent importing infections.
At the time, a minister said the dogs would be put down if they stayed.
“It’s time Pistol and Boo buggered off back to the United States,” agriculture minister Barnaby Joyce said.
The dogs left Australia unharmed at few days later.
However, a subsequent Senate hearing was told that Johnny Depp and Amber Heard could be sentenced to as long as 10 years in jail, or be forced to pay a fine of up to $265,000 if they were found guilty of illegally importing then.
Johnny Depp is currently filming the latest installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise on Australia’s Gold Coast.
It is Amber Heard who has been ordered to appear in court, Australia’s department of agriculture confirmed.
“Ms Amber Heard was served with a summons issued by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions on July 14,” a statement read.
“The CDPP’s action follows an incident where a biosecurity officer attended a Gold Coast property in April and found two dogs alleged to be illegally imported.
“All animals entering Australia must have an import permit, and have undergone relevant testing and health checks signed off by a government veterinarian from the exporting country to ensure pests and diseases from overseas are not brought here.”
Amber Heard previously criticized the way the case had been handled, and suggested she would not return to the country.
“I have a feeling we’re going to avoid the land Down Under from now on, just as much as we can thanks to certain politicians there,” Amber Heard told Australia’s NBC.
“I guess everyone tries to go for their 15 minutes, including some government officials.”
Johnny Depp’s pet dogs are preparing to leave Australia to escape death penalty.
Australia’s Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce had said Boo and Pistol would have to be put down by May 16 if they did not leave, because they were “snuck in” from the US.
Johnny Depp, 51, is currently living in Australia while filming Pirates of the Caribbean 5, Dead Men Tell No Tales.
The actor and his wife Amber Heard are accused of not declaring the Yorkshire Terriers to customs officials when they flew into Queensland by private jet last month.
Australia has strict import laws to prevent non-native diseases entering the country.
The fate of Johnny Depp’s dogs has gripped Australia and world media.
An online petition calling on Barnaby Joyce to spare them now has more than 17,000 signatures and it sparked a debate about the #waronterrier on Twitter.
The dogs should have been properly checked and certificated and then quarantined after arriving in Australia.
Their illicit entry appears to have been uncovered after a grooming salon on the Gold Coast posted pictures of them on its Facebook page.
Barnaby Joyce said on May 14: “If we start letting movie stars… 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.”
Meanwhile, the minister had demanded an apology from a radio presenter who accused him of over-reacting.
Kiis FM “shock jock” Kyle Sandilands told Barnaby Joyce in an angry telephone interview on Friday that he sounded “like an absolute clown” who made Australians “sound like a bunch of hillbilly redneck losers” by publicly threatening the life of someone’s pets.
“Sound like a classy guy. You’re a government minister. Have some decency.”
Barnaby Joyce replied “it’s the law, mate; that’s how it works,” before he was cut off.
Customs officials are facing questions over how the dogs were let in despite the strict regulations, while Johnny Depp and Amber Heard could face a fine.
Johnny Depp’s dogs face death in Australia if they are not removed from the country until May 16.
The 51-year-old Hollywood star and his wife, Amber Heard, are accused of breaking import laws by not declaring their Yorkshire Terriers, Boo and Pistol, to customs when they flew in to Queensland by private jet last month.
Australia has strict quarantine laws to prevent the accidental import of animal disease and infections.
Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce said the laws applied to everyone.
Barnaby Joyce said Boo and Pistol had been “snuck in” to Australia and were discovered when they were taken to a dog groomer.
“Mr. Depp has to either take his dogs back to California or we’re going to have to euthanise them,” he told reporters on May 14.
“He’s now got about 50 hours left to remove the dogs. He can put them on the same charter jet he flew out on and fly back out of our nation.”
Dogs brought into Australia must be law be quarantined for a minimum of 10 days after arrival, longer if they are suspected of carrying any diseases or tics.
An online petition to save the “cute dogs” had received more than 1,300 signatories by midday on May 14.
“Have a heart Barnaby! Don’t kill these cute puppies,” it appealed.
There was no immediate comment from Johnny Depp or Amber Heard.
Johnny Depp is in Australia filming the fifth film in the Pirates of the Caribbean series, Dead Men Tell No Tales.
The actor’s spokesman, Brett Chant, said the dogs were in “home quarantine”, but he did not specify where, the AP reported.
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