It's all been rather a laugh at Australia's expense over Barnaby and Depp's dogs, but the simple fact is that smuggling live animals into Australia is a very serious offence. There are diseases overseas (like rabies for example) that don't exist here. The quarantine laws aren't there just for a bit of an inconvenience, they're there to protect Australia's wildlife and agriculture from disease and pests. Going against quarantine laws carries tough penalties if caught.
The case is now the subject of an investigation in the senate as to why customs officials didn't find them on the plane before everyone left the aircraft.
Government officials have confirmed Hollywood superstar Johnny Depp could face up to 10 years in prison or a maximum fine of $340,000 for illegally bringing his two dogs into Australia.
His pilot could face up to two years in prison for his role in the undeclared importing of Pistol and Boo.
These were some of the details revealed as a Senate committee hearing in Canberra turned its attention to the high-profile quarantine case.
An ongoing investigation by the department understands that Depp, his fellow passengers and the flight crew all failed to declare the presence of the dogs.
Customs officers did not find the terriers when they boarded the aircraft before the passengers disembarked. more