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Depp and his wife apologize to Australia

Johnny Depp’s wife totally out-acted her more famous husband, or at least came across as more sincere, in this video apologizing to the Australian government for sneaking their two Yorkshire terriers into the country without declaring them.

In what more than a few think looks like a hostage video, the couple talks about the importance of Australia’s strict biosecurity laws — aimed at preserving the islands diverse plant and animal life.

“When you disrespect Australian law, they will tell you firmly,” Depp somberly — almost sleepily — intones.

“I am truly sorry that Pistol and Boo were not declared,” says his wife, Amber Heard.

Clearly, this recorded apology was part of a deal reached between the couple’s lawyers and the Australian government. Heard was initially charged with smuggling, conviction of which can carry a 10-year prison sentence, but she pleaded guilty yesterday only to knowingly producing a false or misleading document.

In exchange for that, and the apology, she got little more than a slap on the wrist. She received a one-month “good-behavior bond,” which means she would be fined ($1,000 Australian dollars) only if she broke that bond.

The apology was posted to Facebook by Australia Minister of Agriculture Barnaby Joyce, who, after the charges were first filed, suggested that the dogs, if they weren’t “buggered off back to the United States,” might otherwise face being euthanized.

After that, during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Depp called Joyce a “weird, sweaty-pated gut man who decided two five- or six-inch teacup terriers would harm the country in some way.”

Quite a contrast with the apology video, yes?

Depp and Heard failed to filed the proper paperwork when they arrived by private jet last year in Australia, where Depp was filming “Pirates of the Caribbean 5.” Normally, arriving dogs face a quarantine period.

After photos of Depp’s dogs going to a groomer in Australia went public, the government began an investigation into how they entered the country.

Joyce told ABC News that he hopes the recorded apology serves as a warning to future travelers to Australia.

“The more widely viewed it is the more we have people who might be unaware of our biosecurity requirements and, as they come into this nation, they say this is one thing that the Australians are red hot about, biosecurity.”

Romero pleads guilty in dog’s dragging death

Steven Romero pleaded guilty Thursday to a federal charge of aggravated animal cruelty in connection with the death of Buddy, a stolen German shepherd mix who was dragged to his death behind a pickup truck in the Colorado National Monument.

While the charge carries a maximum sentence of up to three years in prison and a $100,000 fine, it was expected that prosecutors would offer a reduced sentence in exchange for his guilty plea.

Buddy was found dead on Dec. 30. Romero is accused of putting a rope around the dog’s neck and driving until the dog was dead.

Romero, 38, will remain in custody until his sentencing, scheduled for July 30, according to 9News.

“It’s a good day for animal lovers and I’m happy to see this happen. It was the right thing for him to do to accept responsibility,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Meyer said.

Prosecutors say Romero’s sister, 32-year-old Melissa Lockhart, stole the pup from a pickup truck in Fruita and told him to “get rid” of it. Lockhart faces a felony charge for lying to investigators. She will appear in court on May 10 in Grand Junction.

A Facebook page was created in the wake of Buddy’s death. It is called “Demand Justice for Buddy” and has more than 260,000 members around the world.

Octomom spurns porn offer, opts for PETA

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Nadya Suleman — better known as “Octomom” — has reportedly rejected an offer to appear in an adult film, but accepted one from PETA to let her yard be used to send a message on the dangers of pet overpopulation.

Facing financial difficulties and the loss of her home — her mortgage holder told the Associated Press he plans to file foreclosure papers in court within days — the mother of 14 children weighed both offers, but rejected the idea of appearing in a porn film, according to her lawyer, Jeff Czech.

OCTOMOMSteven Hirsch, co-chairman of Vivid Entertainment, announced this week that his company would pay off Suleman’s $450,000 mortgage if she would make a porn film.

Hirsch declined to say whether Suleman had expressed interest in the offer, but Czech indicated she had rejected it out of hand. He confirmed that Suleman had accepted an offer from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals — $5,000 to put a sign in her front yard proclaiming, “Don’t Let Your Dog or Cat Become an Octomom. Always Spay or Neuter.”

As an added incentive, the animal rights organization had said Wednesday it would throw in a month’s supply of veggie burgers and veggie hot dogs for Suleman and her 14 children, who range in age from 1 to 8.

Suleman has been raking in some dough. She signed a deal with the European production company, Eyeworks, for a TV show, and got a payoff from RadarOnline.com after the tabloid site was cited by the state labor commissioner for allegedly failing to get the required permits to videotape her children.

Man who threw Oreo off roof may get jail time

Fabian Henderson, the Brooklyn man who threw a 1-year-old dog off a roof this summer, failed to show up for his sentencing yesterday — thereby voiding the plea agreement that would have spared him from serving jail time.

Henderson, 20, pleaded guilty last month to aggravated animal cruelty, and in exchange got a deal that banned him from owning a dog again but allowed him to remain free. Skipping court, though, means there is now a warrant out for Henderson’s arrest, and he could now face up to four years in jail, the New York Daily News reported.

“What do you expect from somebody who would throw a dog off a roof,” said one of the animal rights activists who attended the sentencing hearing.

In June, Henderson threw his pit bull-terrier mix, Oreo, off the roof of a six-story Red Hook public housing project. The dog survived injuries that included shattered legs, bruised lungs and internal bleeding, but last month ASPCA officials had the dog euthanized because she had become too aggressive.

Vick’s bankruptcy plan rejected by judge

Ex-Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick outlined his bankruptcy plan for more than three hours in court Friday, but a federal bankruptcy judge rejected the proposal and sent him back to the drawing board.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Frank J. Santoro rejected the proposal because it seemed too dependent on Vick returning to professional football. Santoro said there is no guarantee the league will have the 28-year-old player back, and suggested he develop a new plan that included liquidating one or both of his Virginia homes and three cars he had planned to keep.

Vick remains indefinitely suspended, and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has not said whether he will reinstate Vick after his July release from the federal penitentiary in Kansas where he is serving a 23-month sentence for a dogfighting conspiracy.

Vick said his plans include marrying his fiancee next summer and working a $10-an-hour construction job as part of his probation until he can resume his football career, according to an Associated Press report.

Once one of the NFL’s highest-paid players, Vick’s lavish spending and poor investments, coupled with the backlash from his dogfighting case, led to his financial downfall.

Vick said he has accepted full responsibility for his crime, including bankrolling the Bad Newz Kennels dogfighting operation and personally helping to kill some dogs that fared poorly in test fights.

Vick’s other prospects, his lawyers said, include a television documentary deal that will pay him $600,000. There were also hints of a possible book deal. “There are serious and respected people in the literary arts world working on Mr. Vick’s behalf,” he said.

He could be transferred to home confinement at his eastern Virginia home by late May, and Vick’s agent has said that he hopes the player can return to the NFL by September.

BARCS cuts adoption fees for rest of year

Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS) is lowering its adoption fees for the rest of December, and will waive it entirely for animals two years old and older.

The move comes amid a surplus of abandoned dogs and cats — many of them dropped off by families facing financial difficulties.

“We’re being inundated with healthy, adoptable animals,” said BARCS executive director Jennifer Mead-Brause told the Baltimore Sun. “We have people driving up in U-Hauls, dropping off their pets. It’s heartbreaking.”

On top of that, the economic downturn has resulted in fewer people showing up to adopt.

For pups and kittens six months and younger, the fee will continue to be the usual $65, which includes spay/neuter, vaccinations, and preventatives. For animals aged 7 months up to 2 years, the fee hs been dropped to $10, and for animals under two, there will be no fee at all.

The reduced fees are in effect from Dec. 13 through Dec. 31.

To see the animals now at BARCS, you can visit BARCS Petfinder page, or visit in person, at 301 Stockholm St. Shelter Hours are Monday to Friday, 12:30 to 6:30 p.m.; Saturday & Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.