Sat. Apr 20th, 2024
alert-–-couple-juliette-wells-and-reese-mortenson’s-urgent-warning-over-fundraising-efforts-for-molly-the-magpie-in-quest-to-reunite-him-with-best-friend-staffiesAlert – Couple Juliette Wells and Reese Mortenson’s urgent warning over fundraising efforts for Molly the magpie in quest to reunite him with best friend Staffies

The couple behind a push to reunite magpie Molly with their family have warned scammers are posting fake crowdfunding pages as they try to cash in on people’s goodwill. 

Molly became a global phenomenon when wildlife enthusiast Juliette Wells and her partner Reese Mortenson documented the unlikely ‘interspecies friendship’ between the bird and their pair of Staffordshire terriers, Peggy and Ruby.

Videos of the unusual trio of animals and their cute antics racked up over two million followers across Facebook, Instagram and Youtube. 

But Ms Wells and Mr Mortenson, who live in Coomera on the Gold Coast, were left heartbroken on March 1 when authorities seized Molly over allegations the bird was being ‘kept unlawfully’. 

The couple’s latest message to followers amid the fight to return Molly warns them ‘do not donate’ to ‘any fundraiser asking for money’ linked to their cause.

‘This is not us,’ they said. 

Molly the magpie became a global phenomenon when wildlife enthusiast Juliette Wells and her partner Reese Mortenson documented the unlikely 'interspecies friendship' between the bird and their pair of Staffordshire terriers, Peggy and Ruby (pictured together)

Molly the magpie became a global phenomenon when wildlife enthusiast Juliette Wells and her partner Reese Mortenson documented the unlikely ‘interspecies friendship’ between the bird and their pair of Staffordshire terriers, Peggy and Ruby (pictured together)

Ms Wells and Mr Mortenson, who live in Coomera on the northern Gold Coast, were left heartbroken on March 1 when authorities seized Molly over allegations the bird was being 'kept unlawfully'

Ms Wells and Mr Mortenson, who live in Coomera on the northern Gold Coast, were left heartbroken on March 1 when authorities seized Molly over allegations the bird was being ‘kept unlawfully’ 

READ MORE: Shattered ‘parents’ of Instagram star Molly the magpie fight back tears as they demand authorities return the ‘thriving’ bird back to his staffie friends: ‘Why can’t a wild magpie decide where he wants to live?’ 

Juliette Wells and Reese Mortensen have said they are 'devastated' that magpie Molly had been seized and that their dogs Peggy and Ruby missed their 'best friend'

Juliette Wells and Reese Mortensen have said they are ‘devastated’ that magpie Molly had been seized and that their dogs Peggy and Ruby missed their ‘best friend’

The couple also asked that Molly’s fans do not ‘spread hate or fear’ towards the ‘small group of people’ whose complaints resulted in the government seizing Molly.

‘I know of one person who made a mistake of putting her name out in one of the (news) articles and is fearing her safety,’ Ms Wells said.

Officials from Queensland’s Department of Science, Environment and Innovation (DESI) had concerns the couple had no permit to keep the bird which they claimed belongs in the wild.

Now, Queensland Premier Steven Miles has waded into the row amid a public outcry and given his backing to an emotional trans-species reunion.

‘The environment department stands ready to train Molly’s parents to be wildlife carers, to get that certification, so Molly can be reunited with the family,’ Premier Miles said on Thursday.   

Mr Miles said he wanted authorities to help the family get a permit and rejected suggestions that the decision would set a bad precedent.

‘What I’m most interested in here is what’s in the best interests of that animal, and if the department can work with the family to reunite them in a way that is legal, I would support that,’ he added.  

‘I think sometimes common sense needs to prevail and in this instance ensuring that they can legally take care of Molly is the best outcome for Molly.

‘I think if you look at the story there is a better outcome possible. I don’t want to see any of the rules broken, but there has to be a way within the rules to see Molly live out a happy life with her family.’

On Wednesday night Ms Wells and Mr Mortensen said they were concerned for Molly’s welfare in government captivity.

‘We’ve had Molly around us and the dogs for many years. And to not have him around – the house is so quiet. We miss him a lot,’ Ms Wells said.

‘I actually don’t know where Molly is. I don’t know if he’s doing ok.’

In a statement on Wednesday evening, a DESI spokesperson said the department shared ‘community interest’ in ensuring Molly was well cared for.

Now, Queensland Premier Steven Miles (pictured) has waded into the row and given his backing to an emotional reunion

Now, Queensland Premier Steven Miles (pictured) has waded into the row and given his backing to an emotional reunion

‘The department shares the community’s desire to ensure Molly is cared for in the most appropriate way going forward,’ the spokesperson added.

A petition to return Molly to the family has gained almost 60,000 signatures. 

The couple claim they rescued Molly as a chick after he fell from his nest in 2020. 

Molly was originally thought to be a female by Ms Wells, but is actually a male and the name stuck.

Videos of Molly playing with the couples two Staffies soon gained traction online and grew a loyal fanbase.

‘Juliette has a passion for photography and she posted some pictures of Molly having fun with the dogs, but we never expected this to go viral,’ Mr Mortenson said previously.

Ms Wells took Molly home in 2020, suspecting it had been abandoned by its parents

Ms Wells took Molly home in 2020, suspecting it had been abandoned by its parents

The pair enjoying the view from their Coomera home before Molly was seized by DESI officers

The pair enjoying the view from their Coomera home before Molly was seized by DESI officers

READ MORE: Bird-brained Staffy makes friends with rescued magpie and they even SLEEP together 

An adorable video showing a staffy called Peggy and a rescued magpie appearing to hold hands in bed has gone viral

An adorable video showing a staffy called Peggy and a rescued magpie appearing to hold hands in bed has gone viral 

But the couple ‘voluntarily surrendered’ Molly to DESI on 1 March.  

Queensland legislation bans native wild animals from being domesticated because of the possible impact on wildlife. 

Animals that are sick, orphaned or injured can only be rescued and cared for by those who hold a rehabilitation permit and intend to release them back into the wild.

However, the couple claim they did not look after Molly in the way a pet owner might look after a cockatoo or a parrot, insisting instead that the bird is free to fly around and forage for food.

Ms Wells was first asked to surrender Molly six months ago when authorities visited her home but she was unable to capture the bird as it was in a tree.

Previously, DESI said that Molly could not fly like a normal magpie.

‘Unfortunately, it has been highly habituated to human contact and is not capable of being released back into the wild,’ a spokesperson for DESI said.

However, not everyone is in favour of Molly being returned.

One wildlife carer, who asked to remain anonymous, told 7NEWS.com.au the magpie ‘shouldn’t be returned’ to the home despite a huge online push for the reunion. 

Another carer said there were strict laws they had to follow and their status as carers did not even guarantee their right to keep an animal.

‘At the end of the day, if one person is allowed to do this, what’s stopping every other Tom, Dick and Harry keeping a pet magpie, a joey or having a kangaroo hopping around in their backyard,’ the carer told the publication.   

Wildlife carers who oppose the move to reunite Molly are reportedly being sent death threats and abusive comments.