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.
“Any animal which is imported without meeting Australia’s import conditions will be ordered into quarantine and will either be exported or euthanized,” officials said, adding that dogs must 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.
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.”
Barnaby Joyce, the minister of agriculture, said Depp has to “abide by the laws of the nation,” despite being the “‘Sexiest Man Alive’ and all that and Jack Sparrow,” during an interview on the Australian TV show “The Project.”
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.”
Joyce made a few sarcastic remarks about the dogs’ names: “So, Boo Boo — it’s a double-barreled name, obviously a very fancy dog from the northern part of Hollywood” and Pistol, “and I hope that's not a double-barreled name,” adding Depp’s dogs were probably hidden “in the Louis Vuitton bag," when he arrived.
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.