SYDNEY, Australia, Jul 16 – Australia’s “war on terrier” with Johnny Depp has taken another turn, with authorities saying Thursday the Hollywood star’s wife faces charges over bringing their two dogs into the country.
The Department of Agriculture, which is responsible for biosecurity, said actress-model Amber Heard was served with a summons on Tuesday to answer charges for allegedly breaching quarantine laws.
“(This) action follows an incident where a biosecurity officer attended a Gold Coast property… and found two dogs alleged to be illegally imported,” a department spokeswoman said.
Reports said the case was due to be heard in September in a Queensland state court, though it is not known whether Heard will appear in person.
Penalties for contravening the Quarantine Act range from fines to a maximum of 10 years in prison for the worst cases.
Terriers Pistol and Boo created a media storm earlier this year when they were discovered in Queensland, where Depp is filming “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales”, seemingly having bypassed the usual conditions for animals brought into Australia.
The dogs’ presence in Australia only came to light when they were taken to a grooming salon.
Dogs are subject to strict controls for biosecurity reasons, with a permit mandatory and a minimum 10-day stay in a quarantine facility on arrival required.
Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce threatened to have the animals put down unless they were removed, warning in May that: “It’s time that Pistol and Boo buggered off back to the United States.”
After the summons against Heard was issued, Joyce said he was unable to comment on matters before a court hearing but the law was the same for everybody.
“You come into our nation, you have to abide (by) biosecurity protocols,” he told reporters on Thursday.