Hollywood actor Johnny Depp has been told his two illegally imported dogs will be put down if they aren’t sent back to the US by Saturday.
Authorities have launched an investigation into how the Yorkshire terriers, Pistol and Boo, managed to evade Australian quarantine requirements.
The illegal canine cargo landed in Brisbane on the superstar’s private jet when he returned to the set of the latest Pirates of the Caribbean movie on the Gold Coast last month.
But Depp didn’t declare the dogs to customs and Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce says they have to “bugger off” back home.
“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?” Mr Joyce said on Thursday.
“It’s time that Pistol and Boo buggered off back to the United States.”
The agriculture department said authorities had found two illegally imported dogs at a Gold Coast property on May 13.
“The dogs have been ordered into quarantine and the owners have been advised the dogs must be exported within 72 hours,” the statement read.
If they were not exported, the animals would be euthanased, the department said.
It said a review would also be conducted into how the A-list pooches bypassed customs.
By the country’s strict quarantine laws, dogs must be stored in a quarantine facility for at least 10 days once arriving in Australia to prevent conditions such as rabies and parasites coming into the country.
They must also be accompanied by a valid import permit and have undergone relevant testing and health checks signed off by a government veterinarian from the exporting country.
Opposition agriculture spokesman Joel Fitzgibbon has accused Mr Joyce of turning the pooches into scapegoats for an incompetent biosecurity system.
The internet rallied on the news with Twitter users adopting the hashtag “WarOnTerrier” to defend the dogs against their potential death sentence.
An online petition urging the agriculture minister to “have a heart” and not kill the dogs has even garnered more than 2,400 signatures.
Gold Coast dog groomer Lianne Kent, who pampered them at the Happy Dogz salon, said the situation must be `ruff’ for the actor and his wife Amber Heard.
“I can’t imagine what they’ll be going through,” she said.
The movie’s publicist’s have been contacted for comment.