Johnny Depp will fly his two dogs out of Australia to avoid an official death threat. The country's agriculture minister actor Barnaby Joyce told the actor on Thursday he had 72 hours to remove his Yorkshire terriers Boo and Pistol after they were "snuck in" without complying to quarantine laws.
Mr Joyce has since told the BBC that he believed the dogs would be leaving via private jet on Friday, which he said was "the wisest move" – but he expressed concerns that they could now be left stateless.
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Johnny Depp was given until Saturday to remove his dogs from Australia
"The question is if he breached our laws, then did he follow the correct laws in the US," the minister told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. "My worry is will the US let them back in? If not… will they have anywhere to go?"
However, officials later clarified that Australia would issue the dogs with an export certificate, which the US would likely accept because Australia is considered free of rabies.
Johnny is currently living in Australia while he is filming the fifth instalment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. He and his wife Amber Heard are accused of not declaring Boo and Pistol to custom officials when they flew into Queensland on their private plane last month.
The star could face a fine for breaching Australian laws, under which dogs entering from the US have to spend at least 10 days in quarantine. "We can't make an exception for Johnny Depp," Mr Joyce said. "We have strict laws for a reason."
Johnny Depp and Amber Heard are accused of not declaring Boo and Pistol to custom officials
The minister's call on Thursday for the pets to return to America sparked something of a social media frenzy, with thousands signing a petition to save Boo and Pistol, and the hashtag #WarOnTerrier trending.
Mr Joyce has come under criticism for what many considered an over-zealous approach to the incident – and he is said to have inflamed the situation by publicly declaring, "it's time that Pistol and Boo b****r off back to the United States".
In a fiery interview, radio host Kyle Sandilands told the minster: "You sound like an absolute clown telling the guy to b****r off back to Hollywood or we'll kill his dogs. You sound like an idiot.
"You're a government minister, not some idiot off the street mouthing off to a news camera. Have some decency."