Johnny Depp's dogs face death in Australia's 'War on Terriers'

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By Euronews
Johnny Depp's dogs face death in Australia's 'War on Terriers'

Hollywood star Johnny Depp is at the centre of a row in Australia over two illegal immigrants called Pistol and Boo.

The culprits have reportedly fallen foul of the law because, as Yorkshire Terriers, they were brought into the country without respecting the country’s strict procedures on importing pets, including quarantine checks.

Now the dogs face a race against time to avoid being put down. They must leave Australian territory within 72 hours, the government said, or they would be euthanised.

For some, the issue draws a parallel with Australia’s policies on immigration and asylum seekers, which have been criticised by Amnesty International and the Australian Human Rights Commission.

Which rules have been broken?

Australia has strict laws governing what can be brought into the country, to protect the island nation from pests and diseases.

The Department of Agriculture’s website sets out a 19-step process for importing dogs, of which the first 18 steps are supposed to be taken before arrival in the country.

They range from checking vaccinations and testing for diseases, to booking quarantine accommodation.

The Australian government took the highly unusual step of issuing a statement on Depp’s dogs, referring to a public figure but without mentioning the 51-year-old actor by name.

The department became aware of an illegal animal importation on Tuesday 12 May, the statement said.

The Agriculture Minister himself, Barnaby Joice, used slightly less diplomatic language. It was time the dogs “buggered off back to the United States,” he was quoted as saying.

How did the authorities find out about Depp’s dogs?

Johnny Depp came to Australia for the filming of Pirates of the Caribbean 5. The animals reportedly bypassed customs when they were brought into the country in his private jet.

They were found out when a picture was tweeted of the Hollywood pooches at Happy Dogz, a pet grooming parlour in Queensland.

“A biosecurity officer attended a Gold Coast property on 13 May and found two illegally imported dogs,” said the government statement. “The dogs have been ordered into quarantine and the owners have been advised the dogs must be exported within 72 hours.”

How have people reacted in Australia and elsewhere?

And where has Australia’s #WarOnTerrier got to now?