They are lovelier than Chihuahuas, but…

I don’t think I like Yorkshire terriers. There are way too many of them in Moscow. They get insanely pampered, finely clothed, carried around to keep their dainty paws clean and warm. Their yapping is insufferable. My wife calls them “microorganisms.” But I never thought of them as a threat to any nation’s security.

Until this morning. The antipodean report in The Guardian is packed with first-rate humor.

He has decided to bring to our nation two dogs without actually getting proper certification and the proper permits required. Basically, it looks like he snuck them in. We found out he snuck them in because we saw him taking them to a poodle groomer.

This is Australia’s minister of agriculture denouncing Johnny Depp for bringing two Yorkshire terriers, Boo and Pistol, on his private jet “to our nation.” Does the farmstead ministry have its own homeland security department to spy on celebrity dog smugglers? The official is deadly serious:

Mr Depp has to either take his dogs back to California or we are going to have to euthanise them. He’s now got about 50 hours left to remove the dogs.

It’s time that Pistol and Boo buggered off back to the United States. He [Depp] can put them on the same chartered jet he flew out on to fly them back out of our nation.

A commenter wonders whether “bugger off back” is the way government ministers actually talk in Australia. Another one asks, “How many times can this idiot say ‘Our nation’ in a discussion about dogs?”

That was my first reaction, too — but there are no grounds to conclude that Barnaby Joyce is an “idiot”: he is merely taking his job seriously. It is not hard to imagine the extent of the harm an imported germ or pest can inflict on an insular nation’s agriculture. Being a rabies-free country is also great. Which does not cancel out the comical effect Joyce’s speaking style – mixing the pompous and the colloquial – is bound to make on the reading public.

As for “we found out… because we saw him,” government agencies don’t need to spy on celebrities as long as tabloid reporters are doing their jobs.

The other side in the skirmish is happy to supply its share of hilarity, The Simpsons meet Fry and Laurie material. Apart from a petition to rescue the dogs from the Dickensianly cruel minister, there’s this bit:

Lianne Kent, the owner of Happy Dogz, the grooming service where Depp and his wife Amber Heard had taken Pistol and Boo at the weekend, posted on the business’s Facebook page that it had been “an honour” to attend to the pets.

“Their hair was really long and they needed a trim. She [the celebrities’ handler] desperately wanted them trimmed back and their faces styled… They wanted the dogs groomed somewhere that’s a bit more private and we’re right near the set anyway.”

Their faces styled? Leaving aside the enigmatic “celebrities’ handler,” it brings me back to the beginning. I’m not taken in by this breed and was glad to find reinforcement for my prejudice in the comments section:

Yorkshire terriers… The worst kind of dogs ever… What is it with people who so desperately want them?

Oh, forgot chihuahuas…

On a more serious note, plenty of complaints of Australia’s border guards and customs agents in the comments, like this:

Whenever I return to Australia from working overseas, I absolutely resent the obnoxious way our customs and quarantine people treat visitors, returning residents and transit passengers.

Never been down there but their harsh quarantine rules for dogs are world-famous.

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