Johnny Depp’s two Yorkshire terriers will be flown back to the US, but the dogs could end up stateless if the US refuses to allow them in.
The US actor and star of Pirates of the Caribbean brought his dogs, Boo and Pistol, into the country illegally last month and he’s been told to get them out before Saturday or they’ll be put down.
TV crews have been camped out around the clock outside the Gold Coast mansion where Depp is staying, as the story of the pampered pooches hits front pages around the world.
But while the terriers are readied for their flight home, Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce has switched from threatening them to worrying that they could end up in limbo because Depp may have broken US quarantine laws as well.
“My worry is will the US let them back in? If not … will they have anywhere to go?” Mr Joyce told the ABC.
Radio shock jock Kyle Sandilands seemed to miss this change of tone when he attacked Mr Joyce during a live interview.
“You sound like an absolute clown telling the guy to bugger off back to Hollywood or we’ll kill his dogs,” he said on KiiS FM.
Rather than being offended, Mr Joyce egged-on the shock jock, who then called him “an absolute joke” and “insensitive wanker”.
“You’re a savage little man, aren’t you?” Mr Joyce replied.
Sandilands appeared not to understand the figure of speech.
“I’m not even a little man, I’m six-foot-one,” he said.
“People don’t like people talking about animals like that.”
Sandilands then hung up on Mr Joyce in a huff.
Federal MP Clive Palmer used social media to side with Boo Boo and Pistol.
“This is a waste of time & will result in bad reputation for Australia & will hurt struggling film industry on the Gold Coast #deppsdogs,” he tweeted.
But former Howard government minister Amanda Vanstone warned US canines could carry serious diseases that don’t exist in Australia, like rabies.
“You might not know your dog has rabies because he hasn’t bitten you, but he bites someone else and then we’ve got rabies in Australia,” Vanstone told the Seven Network while criticising Depp’s decision to illegally bring the dogs into the county.
Former Queensland premier Peter Beattie agreed, but thought the agriculture minister’s call for them to “bugger off” wouldn’t go down well on American TV.
The animals landed in Brisbane on the superstar’s private jet last month when Depp returned to the set of the latest Pirates of the Caribbean movie on the Gold Coast.
He failed to declare the canines to Customs.
Under Australia’s strict laws, dogs must be stored in a quarantine facility for at least 10 days after arriving in Australia to prevent conditions such as rabies and parasites coming into the country, and be accompanied by a valid import permit.
The department is reviewing how the dogs were brought in without a permit.