Friday, January 21, 2011

Responsible Ferret Ownership

     I was sent two links about ferrets as pets on twitter. The first one was about a baby losing seven of his fingers to the family’s pet ferret. The father of the infant killed the ferret by throwing it across the room where it hit a cabinet.

     The second was about how people are calling the Kansas City Ferret Hotline not to ask for help but to give up their pet for fear of it turning into some cannibalistic thing.

     First let me say that the family should have never had a ferret in the house with an infant if they weren’t going to supervise both the ferret and the infant. It also remains to be seen why it took so long for the parents to even realize something was wrong especially since the mother was supposedly on the couch right beside the child.

     Ferret bites hurt and even I scream when one of my boys decide to do the lick, lick, chomp that all ferrets are capable of doing. With that said it must also be said that the parents are under investigation for neglect and the fact they failed to get the necessary exotic license for having a ferret in the first place.

     Second let me tell you what else I have found since starting research on this incident. Two days before this even happened the parents were trying to find a vet to remove all the ferret’s teeth so it couldn’t bite the child. “Angela Simpkins, a metro ferret advocate, says that she offered to take the ferret but was turned down by the family, who had planned to have the ferret's teeth pulled out before the gruesome attack”(1)

     If the parents had just surrendered the ferret at that time both the child and the ferret would have never made the news. Also having a ferret's teeth removed for no other reason that to keep it from biting is barbaric and cruel.

     It is this kind of news story that give ferrets a bad name. It has been my mission for over a year to promote responsible ownership and have said in many of my blog posts that ferrets and babies/small children DO NOT go together.

     Ferrets love anything that makes noise and will try to take the noisemaker to his/her hidey-hole. Babies make all sorts of strange noises that a ferret would want to stash.

     It is also possible that the ferret that lost his life was hungry and the child had something on his fingers that tasted good. It also needs to be said this did not happen in seconds it took time for the ferret to chew off that many fingers.

     Pediatrician think that ferrets are attracted to babies cause of the milk smell which makes they think of suckling prey. I personally believe it is the fact that they squeak and the wild movement they do but that is my personally belief.

     Ferrets have teeth like a cat and those with cats can tell you that it takes a cat a while to eat a small mouse which is equivalent to a minimum of three infant fingers.

     It must also be said that a ferret can be hurt or even killed by a small child loving on it too hard. Like any animal a ferret will bite and scratch anything causing it pain. So if you do have a ferret and children it comes down to common sense. There needs to be supervision of both ferret and child for both of their safety.

     Have a place to keep the ferret contained when you can’t supervise them together. This gives the ferret a safe place to be and allows the child to be a child without you fearing that something bad is going to happen.

     Lastly if you don’t know that much about ferrets and you really want one wait until the child is old enough to understand that ferrets are not dogs or cats and can be hurt by them and do a lot of research before you get one.

     Ferrets can be great pets but they are not for everyone. Ferrets are high maintenance in many of the same ways an infant is dependent on you for the first years of his/her life.

What are your feelings about this whole incident?

Have a chittering good day,




Mr. Pip said...

I just voted for you in the photo contest! Thanks for voting for me, too!

Your pal, Pip

Cat Chat With Caren And Cody said...

thank you for this most important and heartbreaking post.

Everything you said was true and not only pertains to ferrets but for ALL pets (including the family dog)

Our pets are our babies...but they are still one EVER should leave an infant alone with ANY pet be it a ferret, cat or a dog or whatever else.....this was sooo sad :(

Anonymous said...

I agree with you, they were not only negligent parents, but horridly misappropriate ferret owners. To let that ferret be running around, when there are so many hazards in a home that can injury or kill a fuzzy, is just begging for trouble. That they refused to rehome the ferret, and instead tried to have it's teeth removed is absolutely ghastly! I was heartbroken over the fate of the ferret, and it looks like they were pretty lousy owners to begin with. I hope they are charged for negligence for not properly caring for their child. Even more than that, I hope they are charged with a Class D Felony offense for how they treated the ferret. Poor fuzzy.

There are alot of people with no knowledge of ferrets at all, responding to the news story with the false impression that ferrets are vicious monsters. It is appalling to think ferret owners, who should know better, are losing faith in their little fuzzies as a result of one family's idiocy.

Well written post! ~Jezzy

Jo said...

Thank you for your comments. Jezzy those giving up thier ferrets are new owners who may not have any idea of how they are.

blindmaximus said...

I know we've talked about this a bit and I'm glad you posted about it. I agree with Caren--any animal can be dangerous around a baby. (And in turn, a baby/kid can be dangerous for almost any animal.) I still don't get how you can be sitting with an infant on the couch and not notice IMMEDIATELY if something is biting it.

Samuel_Clemons said...

I have lived with up to 6 Uncle Freddies at one time in my burrow. At no time have I or ANY other Ferret I have ever known bitten one of our pet humans. Of course we snuggle, and nosey rub, and tame the humans by constant persuasion, and when they want to put us down, we insist on being picked well something like that.

The more you handle these humans, the tamer they get, I know that much. And humans that don't want to come out and play regularly, don't know how to act or react to the manic, frenzied pace we ferrets set for them.

If I tie up my pet dog forever, then let him go, he's going to act out. If I keep a human locked up, they may act like a savage. Pigs turn wild with only two weeks in the woods. ALL species of animals if left to dysfunctionality will act like badly.

Frankly, I didn't give the story any legs whatsover, as the humans were clearly idiots, and admitting they threw their owner into a cabinet was abusive, and just a cover up. It could have been a raccoon that slipped in there and ate the kids fingers, or something else, I have never heard of something so outrageous in my life.

I tweet as @Samuel_Clemons.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I, being previous ferret owners, decided over a year ago that our 8 year old daughter was ready for a ferret of her very own. His name is Stanley and he is absolutely the sweetest thing ever! He only hisses at the dog, who has been jealous of his existence in our home since he got there, and that's only when she growls at him if he comes close to her. For the most part they avoid each other. My daughter and I have successfully 'broken' him. When in 'play' mode, if he does put his teeth on you, he immediately stops as if to say, "whoah...that doesn't feel right at all!", and resumes his chuckling play.

What these two 'parents' allowed to happen to their baby is horrible! It's obvious that the ferret had bitten the baby before or else Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum wouldn't have had the brilliant idea to pull out the poor things teeth. They could've at least shut it in a closet with good ventilation, food, water and a pee pad if they couldn't afford a cage.

I get so irritated with non-ferret-lovers attitudes about them, ie. that they're rodents, vicious, smelly, etc. This story and these parents have only helped to perpetuate these myths about these sweet, adorable little animals. My husband and I have decided that even when the kids are grown and gone, there will always be a ferret in our home. They bring so much joy to our family...whether the dog appreciates it or not.

Kymberlee said...

That case makes me nuts. I can't imagine a ferret managing the strength to chew off even one finger on a *living* *writhing* *screaming* infant. I can't believe it happened. Even a baby moves away from pain and, you know, SCREAMS when it's hurt and afraid. Where were the parents and what were they doing for the *very* long time it would have taken that ferret to do the damage it was accused of, while the baby screamed bloody murder.

Has anyone produced an x-ray or medical report (either of the deformed child or the ferret with fingers in its belly)? Because until I see actual proof of this happening, I won't believe any of it.

Personally I call B.S. and think the parents were covering up for some other neglect that caused the baby to be harmed and blamed the ferret.