The actor and his wife Amber Heard are accused of failing to declare their pooches, Pistol and Boo, to customs officials and follow through with proper quarantine procedures upon their arrival Down Under in late April (15), when Depp headed back to work on the set of the latest Pirates of the Caribbean sequel.

The animals' presence was only discovered after the couple took the canines to a local pet pampering salon, where employees shared images of the dogs on social media.

Australia's Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce demanded Depp and Heard fly the pets out of the country by 16 May (15) or face having the Yorkshire terriers put down. They obeyed the order, but now Depp could face a stiff punishment for ignoring animal immigration procedures.

His actions became the top topic at a Senate committee hearing in Canberra on Monday (25May15), as government officials discussed the severity of the crime, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Agriculture Department representatives were grilled by senators for 40 minutes as part of the investigation, during which officials agreed the matter is "very serious" and confirmed the actor could face jail time or a hefty fine, which could top $250,000 (£156,250).