May 18, 2024


AustraliaAuthorities surrender to Peggy and Molly’s friendship

Animal lovers were left disappointed when Australian authorities removed Molly the magpie from a couple in early March. This petition was successful.

Justin Arbor
Peggy the Staffordshire terrier and Molly the magpie are able to play together again. Authorities brought the magpie home after a severe storm.

Peggy the Staffordshire terrier and Molly the magpie are able to play together again. Authorities brought the magpie home after a severe storm.

Facebook/Peggy and Molly

  • Authorities in the Australian state of Queensland have taken away a couple’s pet magpie.

  • Approximately 150,000 people subsequently signed a petition demanding the magpie’s return, but authorities relented.

  • Molly the magpie and Peggy the Staffordshire terrier have formed a deep friendship that has touched more than a million people on Instagram.

In early March, a storm of outrage erupted among animal lovers. A couple in Queensland, Australia, had their magpie Molly taken away by authorities. The bird became famous through her Instagram channel Peggy and Molly, where her unusual friendship with her pet dog Peggy was documented. Followed by over 800,000 people.

In their first Instagram post since Molly’s return, the magpie’s owners wrote that they were “overwhelmed with emotion” and cried “tears of joy” when she was released.

authorities intervened

Juliette Wells and Reese Mortensen adopted Molly the magpie in 2020 when she was still a baby. As the BBC writes, this requires a license associated with strict conditions.

Peggy and Molly – An unusual pet duo.

The Department for the Environment, Science and Innovation subsequently concluded that Molly had been “illegally taken from the wild without any permits, licenses or authorizations”. On March 1, the couple finally announced that they had to turn Molly over to the authorities due to “constant complaints from a small number of people.” “We wonder why magpies in the wild can’t decide for themselves where they want to live and with whom they want to spend their time,” the couple said in an online post.

This development sparked a massive public outcry in Australia. More than 150,000 people have signed a petition calling for Molly’s return. Queensland Premier Stephen Miles was also involved. He said returning Molly to her husband would be a victory for her “common sense” and called on authorities to give them the proper permissions.

According to the BBC, experts ultimately determined that the magpie would not be able to be released back into the wild in these circumstances as Molly is “strongly habituated to people”.

Storage conditions

Mr. Wells and Mr. Mortensen must adhere to strict conditions in order to maintain their licenses as wildlife rehabilitators. Among other things, the couple must complete training, provide proof of Molly’s health, and must not derive any “ongoing commercial benefit” from the magpies. This last point could prove to be the most difficult, since a book about Peggy and Molly has already been published, and the couple sells calendars with photos of the duo and her T-shirts. “My purpose was never to make money,” Wells says. “We can’t live on the money we make. Absolutely not,” Mortensen added.

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