Johnny Depp's dogs have landed him in trouble in Australia. The actor could face up to 10 years of prison time for bringing his pet dogs to the country, Australian authorities said Monday. The 51-year-old actor may have to shell out US$265,000 in fines if he wants to avoid prison.
Depp brought his Yorkshire Terriers, Pistol and Boo, to Australia on his private jet earlier this month. The “Pirates of the Caribbean” actor broke the country's strict quarantine laws as he did not inform alert authorities about the dog's presence. The authorities came to known about the dogs only after the pets were taken out for a grooming and pampering session at a local salon.
The matter has not gone to court yet, but an Australian Senate committee was told Monday that if it happens, the consequences could be serious. Depp could face up to 10 years in prison or a maximum fine of US$265,000. The plane's pilot could face up to two years in prison for his role in importing the undeclared dogs, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
The dogs have since been safely returned to the United States. The trouble started when the dogs boarded the aircraft and escaped unnoticed from customs officers. The actor was in Australia on April 21 to resume the shooting of his film, “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.”
Australian Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce gave a strict warning to the actor at that time. “It's time that Pistol and Boo buggered off back to the United States,” Joyce said, as the Associated Press reported. “Now Mr. Depp has to either take his dogs back to California or we're going to have to euthanize them.”
Australian authorities allege that Depp intentionally hid the presence of dogs from them and “smuggled” them into the country. They say he evaded the formal process of bringing the dogs to Australia, which involves keeping the dogs in quarantine for 10 days.