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Molly the magpie: Famous bird separated from dog best friend, sparking petition – National

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Fans of an Instagram-famous magpie are campaigning for Australian wildlife authorities to reunite him with his best friend Peggy, an English Staffordshire terrier, after the animals’ owners say they were pressured to surrender the wild bird.

Molly the magpie was rescued as a chick by Juliette Wells and Reece Mortensen, a couple from Queensland who now run the “Peggy and Molly” social media pages. The couple’s videos document the magpie and Staffie playing and sleeping together, and one recent video even showed Molly imitating the sound of a dog barking.

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But in an emotional video posted to Instagram, the couple revealed they “had to surrender Molly.”

Wells said that “a small group of people” had been “constantly complaining” about Molly to the Queensland Department of Environment, Science and Innovation (Desi). In Queensland, a license is required in most cases to keep an exotic or native bird.


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On June 13, Desi officers arrived at the couple’s door “wanting us to surrender Molly,” Wells said. “We refused, as he was thriving in the trees surrounding our property.”

Mortensen said he tried to obtain a wildlife license but, “after a period of time I had to retract my application as it was a bit of a conflict to our page,” he said without elaborating on what the conflict was.

“We did everything in our power to work with the department,” he said.

After many months, Molly was surrendered on March 1.

The couple said they were “devastated” and that the situation has been hard on their two dogs, Peggy, and her daughter Ruby, as they’ve “lost their best friend.”

They encouraged their fans to write emails to their local MP and to the Desi office, pushing for an investigation into the Desi officer’s handling of Molly’s surrender.

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Fans of the inter-species besties quickly took to Change.org to sign a petition to “Reunite Peggy and Molly,” which has garnered over 77,000 signatures as of Thursday afternoon.

In the description of the petition, organizer Sarah Rielly writes that Peggy and Molly “share an unbreakable bond.”

“This bond is not just emotional but also crucial to their well-being,” she writes, arguing that separating them could “lead to stress, anxiety, and even depression.”

It’s unclear if Peggy and Molly are bonded animals but social media videos of the pair interacting suggest they have a strong connection.

The situation has drummed up a considerable amount of press coverage in Australia and abroad. So much so that it landed on the radar of Queensland’s premier Steven Miles.

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The provincial leader called for Molly to be reunited with her family, and urged wildlife officials to work with the couple so they can get their proper license.

“I think sometimes common sense needs to prevail… and if you look at the story, there is a better outcome possible,” Miles said Thursday.

“I know our environment department, I used to be their minister. I know they take their responsibilities under the law very seriously. But I think in these circumstances, there’s room for some flexibility. I just urge them to work with Molly’s carers to get the necessary wildlife carer training so that she can get back home.”

The premier has no legal power to order Molly’s return, however, that decision must be made by Desi.

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