Amber Heard Will Plead Not Guilty to Illegally Bringing Dogs to Australia

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Amber Heard, actress and wife of Johnny Depp, is pleading not guilty to illegal animal importing charges, after being accused by Australian officials of smuggling the couple’s two Yorkshire terriers into the country on a private jet. Heard was charged this week with two counts of illegally importing “Pistol and Boo” into Australia and one count of producing a false document.

The whole matter came about after the “Friday Night Lights” actress flew to Australia with the tiny terriers in May 2015 to visit Depp, who was in the country filming the next installment in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise. Heard allegedly falsified her immigration arrival card to conceal the arrival of the two tiny pups, as they traveled to Brisborne by private jet.

By doing so, she bypassed Australia’s strict Quarantine Act, which requires pet owners to apply for a pet permit and quarantine their animals on arrival for at least ten days. The act was designed to prevent infectious diseases, such as rabies, from spreading.

Authorities were tipped off to the dogs’ illegal arrival after photos surfaced of the pampered pooches at an Australian groomer’s shop. Officials gave the couple 72 hours to send Boo and Pistol back to the U.S., threatening that they would euthanize the dogs if they didn’t comply. In the words of Australia’s Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce,” if we start letting movie stars–even though they’ve been [voted] the Sexiest Man Alive twice–to come into our nation, then why don’t we just break the laws for everybody?” Joyce added, ” it’s time that Pistol and Boo buggered off back to the United States.”

Watch Joyce’s full comments below

Joyce’s intensity over the matter quickly became parodied worldwide and social media responded with the ironic hashtag #WarOnTerrier. The dogs were eventually flown back to the U.S. under the guardianship of Heard’s father in order to avoid potential harm from the Australian government.

Even though the matter came off as joke for some, the potential sentence is no laughing matter. According to NBC, Heard could face a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $75,000 fine for the importation charges, while the false document charge carries a penalty of a year in prison and a fine of $7,500. Depp, however, was able to avoid charges altogether because the dogs are solely registered under Heard’s name.

Despite the severity of the charges, Depp didn’t shy away from firing back at the Australian minister during an interview at the Venice Film Festival joking, ” I killed my dogs and ate them, under direct orders of some kind of, I don’t know, sweaty, big-gutted man from Australia.”

Heard on the other hand seem to be taking the charges more seriously. In a statement released by her lawyers Heard said,

Whilst I am unable to comment on the specific matters before the court I would like to say that I respect the importance of Australia’s laws. My decision to defend these charges, as will become apparent in the appropriate forum of the court, is not intended to in any way diminish the importance of Australia’s laws. I look forward to attending the hearing of these matters. However as the matters are to be determined by the court, I will not be making any further statements.

Alexis Evans
Alexis Evans is an Assistant Editor at Law Street and a Buckeye State native. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and a minor in Business from Ohio University. Contact Alexis at



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