Molly the magpie ‘can come home’, Premier promises

Sad Peggy misses her magpie buddy

Source: Instagram

Molly, the magpie that struck up an unlikely friendship with a Gold Coast couple’s pet dogs, will soon be going home, according to a long-awaited update from the Queensland premier.

Molly and Peggy the Staffordshire bull terrier (as well as Peggy’s daughter Ruby) have gained more than a million fans online after Juliette Wells and Reece Mortensen took in and raised the injured bird back in 2020.

But the animal besties were sadly split when Molly was surrendered to Department of Environment in March, amid concerns for his welfare. Since then, there has been immense pressure from the public to have Molly returned to the couple – and his buddies Peggy and Ruby.

On Wednesday, Queensland Premier Steven Miles finally confirmed the news the animals’ legion of fans have been desperate for.

“I’ve spoken to Reece and Juliette and reassured them Molly is in great spirits and is receiving good care,” he wrote on Facebook.

“This morning the department has advised me that the couple can secure the appropriate licence. The team will work with them now to do that.

“It’s good news and means Molly can come home very soon.”

It came just 24 hours after Wells and Mortensen told Molly and Peggy’s 1.2 million Facebook followers that Miles wasn’t returning their calls or emails.

Miles’ latest update quickly garnered thousands of responses as fans lashed the “idiotic bureaucracy” and described the saga as “an utter travesty”.

“This news has made my day,” wrote one fan.

“Still beggars belief why this has been so drawn out, and why the paperwork has to take so long. Let’s hope this can be a speedy process,” wrote another.

“Return Molly NOW. Sort licence LATER,” declared a third.

Before Molly was surrendered, Wells and Mortensen had been in contact with Queensland authorities about him. In mid-2023, DESI officers visited their home but they refused to surrender Molly.

“He was thriving in the trees surrounding our property and had been accepted here, and after long discussions, they left and we thought everything was OK,” Wells said in a video shared earlier this year.

In a statement previously provided to TND, a DESI spokesperson alleged Molly had been taken from the wild, kept unlawfully, without a permit, licence or authority.

“All Queensland native animals are protected under the Nature Conservation Act 1992. To keep a native animal that originates from the wild, a person must have a permit, licence or authority to lawfully have the animal in their possession,” the spokesperson said.

“Animals that are sick, orphaned or injured must go to a person who holds a valid rehabilitation permit, which are issued to people who have demonstrated skills, knowledge and experience dealing with and caring for native animals.”

Molly has spent weeks in the department’s care – with officers saying he cannot be returned to the wild because he is too used to human contact.

The tide started to turn last month when Miles weighed in, publicly backing the magpie’s return to the Gold Coast family. He said Queensland laws should not be broken – but it was an unusual case.

“There is a better outcome possible,” he said.

“There has to be a way within the rules to see Molly live out a happy life with her family.”

On Wednesday, it seemed that path had emerged.

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