Katy Perry and her dog, Nugget, in an ad for Myer.


HONG KONG – Popstar Katy Perry and her pet pooch are in trouble with Australia.

On a promotional tour for her new album “Witness,” Perry offered shoppers at Myer, the Australian department store, the chance to win thousands of free tickets to Perry’s “Witness: The Tour” concerts.

An attempt at lighthearted humor went awry, however, when the ad showed Perry encouraging her dog to run after some beloved and iconic Australian animals. “Let’s go chase some koalas, Nugget,” Perry says.

The misguided quip about the protected species riled animal lovers, who took to Myer’s social media pages to express their disapproval.

“You should be ashamed, Myer, to allow this kind of stupidity,” one Facebook user commented on Myer’s page. “… Maybe Ms. Perry should volunteer some of her time visiting koala hospitals, and do something good instead speaking such garbage.”

“Sad that Myer condones our wildlife to be treated disrespectfully,” another said.

The department store quickly pulled the ad, and replaced it with an updated version that shows Perry saying: “Okay, Nugget. It’s time to get you a puppy passport,” possibly in a sly reference to the incident last year with Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s dogs.

Dog attacks are among the top threats against koalas. On average, approximately 110 koalas are attacked and killed by dogs each year, according to the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection.

While the small marsupials were once numbered in the millions, that number is down to less than 80,000, according to the Australian Koala Foundation. Koalas are today contending with habitat loss, death from traffic and other kinds of human interference.

 

Heard and Depp, who are now divorced, faced legal trouble for unlawfully taking their dogs, without proper documentation, into Australia while Heard was filming a movie there.

The former Australian deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce threatened to have the dogs put down, and the matter went to court. The issue was eventually settled when the two actors issued a video apology emphasizing Australia’s strict biosecurity laws.

Katy Perry meets fans at a Myer store in Sydney.

Katy Perry meets fans at a Myer store in Sydney.  CARRETT/EPA/REX/Shutterstock

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