The saga of Johnny Depp, his wife Amber Heard and their two dogs, who faced a threat of euthanization after being smuggled into Australia, has finally come to an end. Heard was charged with bringing the two pups into the country without claiming them, and faced jail time plus a huge fine. But today, she pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of providing a false immigration document when she entered Australia and was given a slap on the wrist. The celebrity couple also made this apology video for Australia:
Need a refresher on the backstory? Here you go:
Australia's Department of Agriculture told Johnny Depp to get his dogs out of the country, or else!
The actor, who arrived in the country in May 2015 to film the latest in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise, was accused of illegally bringing his two Yorkshire terriers into the country via private jet. Like other nations, Australia has strict quarantine procedures when it comes to live animals — a 10-day minimum meant to protect humans and animals from the spread of non-native diseases. (Remember Justin Bieber's monkey quarantine drama a few years back? Same deal.)
Depp's two pups, Pistol and Boo, were discovered after their cover was blown by Happy Dogz in Maudsland, Queensland. The grooming salon posted a grainy photo of Depp with his two pups and the caption "It's an honour to be grooming Johnny Depp and Amber Heard's two Yorkshire Terriers." Australian officials were apparently tipped off after that, leading to the dogs' subsequent capture, and then a televised statement by Barnaby Joyce, Australia's minister of agriculture.
No really — that's how big a deal this is. The agriculture minister, with the high-profile pups under lock and key, decided the time had come to raise awareness about Australia's biosecurity laws.
"If you start letting movie stars — even though they've been the sexiest man alive twice — to come into our nation [with pets], then why don't we just break laws for everybody?" Joyce said. "It's time that Pistol and Boo buggered off back to the United States."
It gets better. Instead of just keeping the dogs in quarantine and slapping Depp with a hefty fine, Joyce said that if they weren't removed from the country in 72 hours, they would be killed.
"Now Mr. Depp needs to take his dogs back to California or we're going to have to euthanize them," he said. "He's now got about 50 hours (out of a 72-hour notice period)."
More than 22,000 people signed a Change.org petition urging clemency for Pistol and Boo. But a few days later, Australia's minister of agriculture Barnaby Joyce announced Depp's dogs went back to the U.S.
"A Department of Agriculture officer has escorted the two dogs from the property in Queensland, where they had been held under quarantine order, to the airport for their flight home," he said. "The department issued the necessary export documentation and correspondence to the relevant veterinary authority to facilitate the repatriation of the dogs. All costs associated with returning the dogs were met by the owners."
Barnaby added that despite the hype associated with the dog's famous owners, "Australia has strict biosecurity requirements for good reasons — to protect Australia from exotic pests and diseases that can seriously harm humans, animals and our economy.
Editor's note: This story was originally written in May 2015 and has been updated with more recent information.