Australian court hearing over Johnny Depp's dogs adjourned

By The Associated Press | Posted - Sep. 6, 2015 at 8:11 p.m.


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SYDNEY (AP) — A court hearing dealing with allegations that Johnny Depp's wife, Amber Heard, illegally brought the couple's dogs to Australia was adjourned on Monday until November.

Heard was charged in July with two counts of illegally importing Pistol and Boo into Australia and one count of producing a false document. She could face heavy fines and up to 10 years in prison if convicted, though legal experts have said it's unlikely she'll face a lengthy jail term since the dogs were flown back to the U.S. before a government deadline.

Heard did not appear at the Southport Magistrates Court in Queensland state on Monday. The case was adjourned until Nov. 2.

The doggie drama began in May, after Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce accused Depp of smuggling the Yorkshire terriers aboard his private jet when he returned to Australia to resume filming of the fifth movie in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" series.

"If we 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 the laws for everybody?" Joyce said at the time. "It's time that Pistol and Boo buggered off back to the United States."

Australia has strict quarantine regulations to prevent diseases such as rabies from spreading to its shores. Bringing pets into the country involves applying for a permit and quarantine on arrival of at least 10 days.

Officials gave Depp and Heard 72 hours to send Pistol and Boo back to the U.S., warning that the dogs would be euthanized if they weren't. The dogs boarded a flight to the U.S. just hours before the deadline.

The prosecutor's office has declined to explain why Depp wasn't charged, citing the ongoing nature of the case.

Last week, Depp poked fun at the ordeal during a news conference in Venice, where he is promoting his latest movie. Asked if he was planning to take the dogs for a gondola ride, he responded:

"No. I killed my dogs and ate them, under direct orders from some kind of, I don't know, sweaty, big-gutted man from Australia."

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