Depp reportedly arrived in Queensland by private jet earlier this month to shoot the fifth edition of “Pirates of the Caribbean,” called “Dead Men Tell No Tales.” On Wednesday, however, a biosecurity officer from the Department of Agriculture found two illegally imported dogs at his Gold Coast property, according to a Department of Agriculture statement.
Officials fear that the dogs could be carrying diseases that could affect people such as “rabies, ehrlichia, leishmania, leptospirosis and internal and external parasites," the statement continues.
The announcement has stirred controversy online, with more than 6,500 signing a petition to “save Johnny Depp's dogs.”
“This seems so extreme and unnecessary,” the petition’s organizer writes, pleading the minister of Agriculture to “have a heart.”
Depp, 51, has not yet responded publicly to the warning or to the minister’s comments, and the actor's rep did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.
“I don’t hate Johnny Depp’s dogs but I dislike the way that someone comes into our nation and doesn’t go through the proper process, so basically you’re standing away from the law of this nation,” Joyce said.
Others online have launched a grim countdown with the title, “It’s almost time to kill Johnny Depp's dogs.”
Officials are now adamant, saying that “private jets are subject to the same strict biosecurity requirements as any other aircraft or vessel entering Australia,” and that “the Department of Agriculture is reviewing how the dogs were brought into Australia without an import permit.”
The dogs have been ordered into quarantine and the owners have been advised the dogs must be exported within 72 hours, leaving about a day and a half.