Peggy and Molly: Queensland premier calls for seized magpie to 'return home' amid saga

Millions of people have engaged with the online content of Molly the magpie and Peggy the dog interacting with each other.

Queensland Premier Steven Miles says he has "sympathy" for those eager to have an Instagram-famous magpie returned to its former owners and dog 'best friend' after it was surrendered to government authorities.

Molly the magpie had been with the family since 2020 after it was found in a park alone, believed to have been abandoned. After the bird was taken home a "bond" formed between Molly and the family's staffy Peggy and countless videos have been shared online since — with the content amassing millions of followers across social media platforms.

Peggy and Molly with former owner Juliet Mortensen (left). Queensland premier Steven Miles stands in a shirt and black suit jacket (right).
Queensland premier Steven Miles said he has 'sympathy' for those who are eager to have Peggy and Molly reunited. Source: Instagram and Getty

However "heartbroken" owners Juliette Wells and Reece Mortensen surrendered the magpie to Queensland's Department of Science, Environment and Innovation (DESI) on March 1 after the department received "constant complaints" from a group concerned about the bird's welfare.

Queensland premier wants Peggy and Molly reunited

On Wednesday, Steven Miles confirmed he backed the campaign to have the magpie returned to Juliet and Reece, and over 10,000 people have shared a similar sentiment by signing a petition in support of the cause.

Former owners Juliet and Reece Mortensen look somber talking to the camera with their two dogs on their laps.
Former owners Juliette Wells and Reece Mortensen are heartbroken the magpie was surrendered to authorities. Source: Instagram

"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," he told media. "I just urge them to work with Molly’s carers to get the necessary wildlife carer training so that she can get back home."

"I gotta say, I’ve got some sympathy for people supporting Molly the magpie."

Why was the magpie surrendered?

The DESI confirmed to Yahoo News this week that the magpie was "voluntarily surrendered" to staff. It is believed neither Juliet or Reece hold an appropriate permit, licence or authority to have possession of the bird under the Nature Conservation Act 1992.

"It is alleged that the bird was taken from the wild and kept unlawfully, with no permit, licence or authority being issued by DESI," it said.

Molly the magpie lies on its back with its legs on a toy (left). The dog and bird face one another on a grey fluffy dog bed (right).
Videos online showed Molly the magpie and Peggy the dog's special 'bond'. Source: Instagram

The department stressed the risks involved with wild animals and domestic animals interacting with one another such as behavioural imprinting and transmission of diseases.

"Animals from the wild, must stay wild," DESI added.

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