Hollywood stars no show in Australian court over pet dogs

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Hollywood stars Johnny Depp and his model wife Amber Heard did not venture back to Australia to face a court hearing on Queensland’s Gold Coast Monday over charges she illegally brought their pet dogs into the country.

Heard is facing up to 10 years in prison and a fine of 100,000 Australian dollars (69,000 US dollars) if found guilty of illegal importation of animals and producing a false customs document.

She did not appear in the Gold Coast court Monday where her lawyers asked for a delay in proceedings and the case was adjourned until November 2, the broadcaster ABC reported.

Heard and Depp spent the weekend at the Venice Film Festival where they both had new films opening.

Heard was charged in July under Australia’s strict quarantine laws after allegedly bringing in the couple’s pet Yorkshire terriers Pistol and Boo on their private plane in May without declaring them on her customs form.

Depp was filming a Pirates of the Caribbean movie on the Gold Coast.

The dogs made headlines when Australia’s Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce said movie stars got no special treatment under quarantine laws aimed at keeping out diseases, and said the dogs had to “bugger off back to the US” or be put down.

Depp joked in Venice on Saturday that he had killed and eaten the dogs under orders from a “sweaty, big-gutted man from Australia.”

With the court’s permission, people facing these sort of charges in Australia do not have to appear in person but must have a lawyer represent them.

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