Hello everyone. As those of you who have read my blog before know, I am in love with ferrets. I have owned ferrets since the year 2000 and am absolutely charmed by their antics and love. Unfortunately, ferrets are illegal to own in California. Ferret owners live in fear of discovery. I take it for granted that I can openly talk about my lovable furkids at work and have pictures of them. I can post on the internet without worrying about someone seizing my ferrets. Ferrants in California are not that lucky. When ferrets are discovered, they must be removed from the state. Or be destroyed. There are several rescue operations and many volunteers who assist in getting an “illegal” ferret out of California and adopted into loving homes in other states.
California Fish and Game site several incorrect reasons why ferrets are a danger to the ecology and citizens of the state.
Firstly, they use the generic term “ferret” to refer to all ferret like animals, wild and domestic. In other words, they place the domesticated ferret in the same category as mink(mustela vison), weasels(Mustela nivalis) , and American Black Footed Ferrets (Mustela nigripes). Although they share the name “ferret,” the domesticated ferret is not descended from the American Black Footed Ferret. The domestic ferret (mutela putronis furo) has been domesticated for approximately 2500 years. They were bred originally to hunt small vermin, such as rats, mice, and rabbits. In the United States today, ferrets are kept mainly as companion animals. Some ferret owners in Great Britain still hunt rabbits with their ferrets.
Ferrets, Black Footed Ferrets, weasels, and mink are not the same. Ferrets are domesticated pets. The second issue California Fish and Game cite is the risk of “feral” colonies of ferrets endangering local wildlife and plants. There are no feral colonies of ferrets anywhere in the United States. The only location where “feral” ferrets are a problem is New Zealand. However, these animals are ferret- polecat cross species deliberately introduced into an area to control rodents. In other words, the domesticated ferrets were bred with a wild animal and turned lose in an area with abundant game, no predators, and a friendly ecology. The animals in New Zealand are not the same as domesticated ferrets. Most domesticated ferrets in the US have lost much of their survival skills. They generally die when they get lost. They either starve, overheat, or are killed by dogs. They expect ferrets to compete with local predators for food. Ferrets generally do not understand how to hunt, kill, and eat game. They will play hunt but are not successful in the wild. Even ferrets in the UK used for hunting partner with humans. The ferrets chase the rabbits through the warrens and into nets. Unfortunately, most pet ferrets in the United States are bred by ferret farms, very similar to puppy mills. Young ferrets are spayed or neutered prior to shipping to pet stores, often at 8 weeks of age or younger. Any ferrets that manage to survive in the wild could not reproduce. Without reproduction, any feral colony would soon die out. California also cites concerns about ferrets being aggressive. Any animal that is in pain, ill, or scared can bite. It is part of survival. Animals use teeth to defend themselves. However, Evidence from an article in The Journal of American Veterinary Medical Association, based on statistics from the Center For Disease Control, show that domestic dogs are 200 times more likely to bite and seriously injure a child than are domestic ferrets. People are more likely to be bitten by dogs, cats, snakes, or humans than ferrets. Alison Parker is an independent film producer in Canada. She recently produced a short film for competition called “Jake and Jasper: A Ferret Tale.” For my review of the movie, click here: Jake and Jasper. Her current project is a full length feature movie, titled “The Ferret Squad.” Max Jones is a teenager who recently moved with his father to California. He smuggles his ferret, Digger, into the state. His problems are just beginning. Max meets up with a group of teenagers and form a club called “The Ferret Squad.” Their mission is to rescue endangered ferrets and get them out of the state of California. The movie will be privately produced. Alison is fundraising for the cost of production. In addition, 5% of the funds raised will go to Legalizeferrets.org. Take a few minutes and watch this trailer. If you can, please donate to the production costs of the movie. Every little bit of money helps. I hope one day, everyone who wants a ferret can enjoy a furchild without fear.