Some of you readers may know the joys of owning a pet ferret, but if you’re a law-abiding citizen in California, you cannot legally own a ferret. So why not? What’s the reason for this law?
It all started in 1933, when a law restricting the importation and possession of certain wild birds and animals, including domestic ferrets, was passed.
The main reasons that the ban on ferrets still stands, according to the Department of Fish and Game Ferret Fact Sheet (March 25, 1994), are:
- Ferrets are wild animals that may bite or attack.
- Ferrets may be a rabies danger.
- Escaped pet ferrets will form feral packs (as they did in New Zealand) and threaten native wildlife.
It’s a fact that some Californians own ferrets, in spite of the law (We do not encourage this, just stating the facts, ma’am), and others are just hoping that the law gets overturned — both groups feel like the reasons are outdated and ridiculous. Groups like Legalize Ferrets explain that because ferrets are exclusively indoor pets, the chances of them being able to survive on their own for more than a few days in the wild are slim. They also point out that almost all ferrets that are sold are spayed and neutered, so they would not be able to breed and start feral colonies, if they were to survive. While ferrets can be nip-prone creatures, proper training from a young age can teach ferrets not to bite. Pro-ferret groups point out that there are more cases of dog bites in the U.S., and that ferret bites are less serious than other animals’ bites. Finally, they also encourage that ferrets owners take their pets to the vet for annual check-ups and rabies vaccinations.
So what do you think? Should California legalize ferrets?
Image: Guy Haimovitch