Once again the legalization of ferrets is brought up along with the old song of why they are illegal in California in the first place. While the reason may have been valid when the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) put it into place those reasons are no longer valid.
If California were to legalize ferrets and give amnesty to those already living in California the state would benefit in a number of ways. One of which could be the registration and licensing of the nearly one million ferrets living as outlaws in California. The other would be from the revenue that could be produced by sanctioned ferret shows.
It was pointed out in the The Orange County Register online paper’s comment section by some people that ferrets are legal in almost every state except Hawaii that was called a hold out state. What most of these people don’t realize the reason Hawaii won’t legalize ferrets is because of the native birds that ferrets could decimate like they did in New Zealand.
It was pointed out that most ferrets aren’t sold intact so they can’t reproduce but there is a flaw with that statement in that some are sold ready to breed and that is what needs to be addressed before the law can be fully repealed. In Pennsylvania you must have a license to breed ferrets. If you don’t have that license you are not allowed to own a “whole” ferret.
It is also true that ferrets have lost most of their survival instincts but they still have the urge to eat and will kill small rodents which is what they were bred for in the first place. As to the destruction of plant life we as human beings do more damage by hiking outdoor. Finding water isn’t really that hard a ferret only needs a few drops here and there when they are on a quest. What will kill a ferret if he/she got loose would be the heat. Ferrets prefer a nice temperature of around 65 degrees any hotter and they can suffer from heat stroke in a matter of minutes.
Another commenter stated that ferrets are pretty fragile creatures. Yes in some instances they can be easily broken but if you ask anyone that has owned a number of ferrets they will tell you that they are also very agile and can survive a lot more than they are given credit for. The fragility comes from the number of diseases that can kill a ferret and their reactions to different vaccines.
Another thing to consider before condemning the CDFG about their rules/laws is that the law has been on the books for a long time and the current officials may not agree with it any longer but can’t change the rules without a study and what right minded official is going to suggest a study about releasing X number of ferrets into the wild to see if the fears are correct? There are too many organizations out there that would object.
I must remind you I am from California and now a ferret owner. When I lived in California I didn’t know what a ferret was besides those that were in movies. Now that I live Pennsylvania and have had the opportunity to own these fascinating creatures I would never move back to California unless they did legalize ferrets but I also understand how politics work.
A non-profit group called California Domestic Ferret Education Alliance (CDFEA) is working to educate people about ferrets. Education is needed as one commenter called a ferret’s offspring “pups” when they are called kits. The same as when a fox has her babies.
It was also brought up about ferrets attacking children. Pet ownership is a responsibility no matter what animal you have. Ferrets are highly inquisitive and will check out anything that squeaks this includes infants and small children. If a ferret likes what it has found it will try to take it back to his/her hiding spot and this involves using his/her mouth.
It is not recommended that families with small children have ferrets for this very reason. If children are visiting a home where ferrets live then the ferret owner should either put the ferret in his/her cage for the duration or place them in a room with a door away from the child. While most owners will bristle at me for saying confine their fur babies in their own home they might think about the result if their ferret bit a child. The ferret will always loose to a needle.
It may be the CDFG vs. ferrets for now with those rallying to get the law repelled but both sides need to sit down face to face and calmly talk out their beliefs and how to either disprove or prove them. The law has been on the books for how long? That answer has never been published in any of the articles I have read. The answer is 1933 according to Golden State Ferret Society.
So for seventy-seven years ferrets have been on the banned list isn't it time to re-evaluate the reasons?
All comments, reactions, thoughts, links to other information about ferrets, and recommendations are welcomed and appreciated.
This post is in response to an article dated May 20 2010 in The Orange County Register’s online paper.