Johnny Depp flew his beloved pups out of Australia earlier this month before government officials put them down over a permit dispute, but the case apparently isn’t over yet.
Australian lawmakers were told on Monday that if the case goes to court and Depp is found guilty of violating the country’s animal quarantine laws, the actor faces up to 10 years in prison or a hefty maximum fine of $265,000.
Officials from Australia’s agriculture department spoke to a Senate committee in Canberra whose members seemed very interested in the details of the doggie uproar, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.
The newspaper reported that the politicians agreed that the case is “very serious.”
(But apparently not serious enough to stop committee chairman Bill Heffernan's impression of a Yorkie.)
Depp was in Australia filming the fifth “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie when Barnaby Joyce, the country’s ag minister, accused the actor of failing to provide the proper certification and permits when he brought his two Yorkies, Pistol and Boo, into the country, allegedly aboard a private plane.
Joyce accused Depp of violating Australia’s animal quarantine policies and threatened to have the dogs killed because they posed a threat to the country’s bio-security.
Depp had the dogs flown back to the United States before Joyce could make good on the threat.
Joyce was adamant that celebrities do not get special treatment from his department.
“There is a process if you want to bring animals in: you get the permits, they go into quarantine and then you can have them,” Joyce told Australian media.
“But if we start letting movie stars — even though they've been the sexiest man alive twice — to come into our nation, then why don't we just break the laws for everybody?”
Though the dogs are long gone, the investigation is ongoing.
Depp has not commented on the flap.