International Politics

Johnny Depp & Doggygate: the Continuing Saga

Johnny Depp, actor, pirate, and considered by some to be one of the sexiest men alive, is being threatened with 10 years in prison or a $340,000 fine for breaking Australia’s strict quarantine laws.  In Australia, to bring a pet into the country involves paperwork and if approved, 10 days of quarantine for the animal, where I am assuming vets are there to make sure the animal doesn’t have any diseases. Australia is an island; it is easy for diseases to spread and for plants and animals that don’t belong in the biosphere to run amok. Australia is considered rabies-free, although the virus has been found in bats, and the government would like to keep it that way.  These are reasons why Australia has such strict laws on animal and plant imports.

Johnny Depp is a very rich man who is used to being able to take his cute little doggies wherever he wants. They are small enough to fit into handbags, and that was how the animals were brought into Australia.  Depp forgot that in this day in age, there are no secrets, not even for celebrities, and his pets were outed on social media.  Once this happened, Australian Agricultural Minister Barnaby Joyce threatened to euthanize the dogs if they didn’t leave Aussie soil within 50 hours. Depp and his team complied with the order.

Although in Depp’s mind, the matter seemed settled,  he is facing 10 years in prison and his pilot two years. It seems as though Australia wants to make an example of Depp.

Australia has a right to control its borders just like any country does. If he were just a Johnny Smith we would all be saying, he should have known better.  But because it’s Johnny Depp we care if he goes to prison for sneaking doggies to Australia.  It may sound stupid to American ears, but we have laws about importing animals to the United States as well.  Should anyone face 10 years for this sort of infraction? No. But should he face a fine? Absolutely. We should follow the laws of any country we visit.  If Depp snuck these dogs into the country in handbags, as reported, then he knowingly broke the law and should be punished.

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