'Dogs gone': Johnny Depp's law-breaking pups leave Australia

Johnny Depp's dogs appear to be safe from #WarOnTerrier, head back to California

The War on Terrier appears to be over: Johnny Depp's law-breaking pups are heading back to the U.S. 

Australia's minister of agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, who lambasted the actor for sneaking his pets into the country, confirmed the move with a terse tweet on Friday.

"Dogs gone," he wrote.

The "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales" star faced a firestorm after he flew his two dogs, Pistol and Boo, via private jet into Australia last month without the proper documentation. The actor has been Down Under with his wife Amber Heard and pets filming the fifth installment in the "Pirates" franchise.

Joyce accused Depp of smuggling the Yorkshire terriers into Australia, which has strict biosecurity laws to prevent the spread of disease and call for claiming pets and animals on customs forms before entry. Pets usually face 10 days in quarantine before being let go. 

Depp, 51, reportedly didn't do that and his furry friends faced the threat of euthanasia if he didn't send them back home before Joyce's 72-hour deadline was up on Saturday. The pets had been temporarily quarantined at Depp's rented Gold Coast mansion before heading to the airport Friday night and boarding a flight bound for California, the Associated Press reported.

On Friday, officials confirmed that Pistol and Boo had left Australia safely.

"The reason the dogs must be flown out of the country is because the owners need to arrange the relevant health checks and certifications before coming into the country -- we don't allow entry without these checks and certainly don't facilitate these checks post-entry," Joyce's office said in a statement (via E! News). "There is already a separate post-entry quarantine process in place for animals imported legally with the correct health checks done."

E! News and TMZ reported that that the two dogs would be flying back to the United States aboard a private jet -- that's much nicer than most frequent fliers.

The pooches had allegedly been found out after they were taken to a Maudsland groomer.

The pups also prompted an outpouring of support online: A Change.org petition that criticized Joyce's hardline stance and called for the rescue of the dogs received nearly 20,000 signatures as of press time. And the pithy hashtag #WarOnTerrier brought even more attention to the saga.

Depp's publicists and attorney did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Follow me on Twitter @NardineSaad.

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times
52°