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Australia reunites magpie and dog after uproar

SYDNEY (AFP) – Australian authorities on Monday issued a licence allowing a magpie called Molly to reunite with a pet dog, after sparking public outrage by keeping the unlikely friends apart.

A Queensland couple’s pictures of the bird cozying up with their Staffordshire bull terrier Peggy drew an audience of hundreds of thousands of followers on Instagram.

But the Gold Coast couple, who took the magpie in as a nestling in 2020, had to surrender the bird more than six weeks ago to the Queensland Department of Environment, Science and Innovation.

Under state law, magpies and other protected wildlife can only be cared for by people with a licence to show they have the needed skills.

The couple’s Instagram page was deluged with outraged reactions to the separation, and an online petition titled “Don’t Break Their 4-Year Bond” garnered more than 150,000 signatures.

Australian authorities granted a license permitting the reunion of a magpie named Molly with a pet dog, following public outcry over the decision to keep the unlikely companions separated. PHOTO: THE DAILY STAR