SYDNEY: The actor Johnny Depp has been given 72 hours to get his pet dogs out of Australia or face seeing them put down.
The government ultimatum came after Depp brought his terriers Boo and Pistol into the country on a private jet and bypassed quarantine.
Depp, 51, and his wife Amber Heard, 29, are renting a vast house on Queensland's Gold Coast while he is filming the latest Pirates of the Caribbean movie.
Barnaby Joyce, Australia's agriculture minister, ordered Depp to remove the dogs by tomorrow, saying "it's time that Pistol and Boo b------- off".
He said the dogs would be "euthanised" if Depp did not comply.
"If we start letting movie stars - even though they've been voted the sexiest man alive twice - come in [and break the laws], then why don't we just break the laws for everybody?" he said.
It was thought that Depp was arranging for the dogs to be flown back to the US.
The row has made international headlines and left a large media pack camped outside Depp's luxurious beachside mansion to await the fate of his pets.
The terriers were last spotted playing with a tennis ball in the living room.
Depp is believed to have avoided complying with Australia's strict quarantine rules by bringing Boo and Pistol into Brisbane airport on his private jet.
He and his wife, an actress and model said to be obsessively fond of the animals, could face fines, prosecution or even jail if they are found to have deliberately deceived customs officials.
It is still not clear how the dogs were able to enter the country without being detected or declared. Private jets are typically subject to the same security measures as other aircraft.
Depp and Heard, who themselves passed standard passport and customs checks, are yet to comment on the ordeal.
Authorities in Australia reportedly became aware of the presence of Boo and Pistol after the pets were taken to a grooming salon near the home the couple are renting.
Lianne Kent, from the Happy Dogz parlour, said she gave Boo and Pistol a "full groom, bath and trimming" even though the dogs already looked immaculate.
"Dogs usually come in messy when I groom them, but they looked beautiful," she said. "They smelt amazing."
Ms Kent posted photos of herself with the dogs on social media, which may have alerted the government to their presence.
"I'm upset about it. I feel sorry for them," Ms Kent said. "I can't imagine what they'll be going through."
The US embassy issued a reminder to its citizens that they "are subject to Australia's laws when visiting Australia".