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24 Aug, 2023 17:01

Amber Heard escapes new charges in ‘dog case’

The Australian authorities won’t prosecute the US actress for alleged perjury about smuggling the pets into the country
Amber Heard escapes new charges in ‘dog case’

The Australian authorities have decided to drop a case against American actress Amber Heard over allegations that she feigned ignorance while explaining in court how her two Yorkshire terriers sneaked their way into the country in a breach of strict biosecurity regulations almost ten years ago.

In a statement on Tuesday, Australia’s Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forestry announced that “prosecution action will not be taken against… Heard over allegations related to her sentencing for the illegal import of two dogs into Australia in 2015.” The agency noted that the decision was made by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions after it was provided with a brief of evidence.

The dog saga started in May 2015 when Heard and her ex-husband and Hollywood star Johnny Depp brought two Yorkshire terriers – Pistol and Boo – into Australia, where Depp was filming the fifth installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. The dogs, which flew on the couple’s private jet, never spent the required ten days in quarantine, with the authorities learning about the violation only after a local groomer posted pictures of the pets on social media.

Subsequently, Heard pleaded guilty to falsifying travel documents, with her lawyer arguing that the actress never meant to lie by failing to declare the dogs as she assumed that her assistants had sorted out all the relevant paperwork. At the time, the more serious charges of illegal importation, which can carry a lengthy prison sentence, were dropped. 

However, in 2020, as part of another lawsuit, a former Depp employee, Kevin Murphy, told a London court a different story. He claimed that Heard had been repeatedly warned that she could not bring the dogs to Australia without complying with a strict set of rules. These allegations sparked an investigation by the Australian authorities into a possible perjury offense by Heard.

The 37-year-old actress escaped being embroiled in yet another case after a lengthy legal battle with her former husband, Johnny Depp. As the pair was going through divorce proceedings in 2016, Heard accused Depp of domestic abuse, with both actors suing one another for defamation. In 2022, a Virginia jury ruled in favor of Depp, with Heard’s suit being largely dismissed.