Johnny Depp dog case: Australian authorities' bark worse than their bite!

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard apologise for doggie drama in Australia. (Screengrab: Facebook/Barnaby Joyce Member for New England)
Johnny Depp and Amber Heard apologise for doggie drama in Australia. (Screengrab: Facebook/Barnaby Joyce Member for New England)

Australia — Actor Johnny Depp's wife Amber Heard pleaded guilty on Monday to providing a false immigration document amid allegations she smuggled the couple's dogs into Australia.

Prosecutors dropped two more serious charges that Heard illegally imported the Yorkshire terriers, Pistol and Boo, into the country last year, when Depp was filming the fifth movie in the Pirates of the Caribbean series. A conviction on the illegal importation counts could have sent the actress to prison for up to 10 years. The false documents charge carries a maximum penalty of a year in jail and a fine of more than 10 000 Australian dollars ($7 650).

Heard's lawyer, Jeremy Kirk, told the Southport Magistrates Court on Queensland state's Gold Coast that his client never meant to lie on her incoming passenger card by failing to declare she had animals with her. In truth, Kirk said, she was simply jetlagged and assumed her assistants had sorted out the paperwork.

Prosecutor Peter Callaghan said ignorance and fatigue were no excuse.

"The laws apply to everyone," he said.

The judge sentenced Heard with a $1 000 one-month good behaviour bond with no conviction recorded.

Where it all began

The debacle over the dogs began last May, when Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce accused Depp of smuggling the tiny terriers aboard his private jet when he returned to Australia to resume filming the Pirates movie.

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.

"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."

Depp and Heard were given 72 hours to send Pistol and Boo back to the U.S., with officials warning that the dogs would otherwise be euthanized. The pooches boarded a flight home just hours before the deadline ran out.

A video of apology

Depp and Heard made a videotaped apology that was played in court during Monday's hearing.

"If you disrespect Australian law," Depp says in the video, "they will tell you firmly."

Click here to watch the cringeworthy apology.

(Photos: Getty Images)