Why are Ferrets Banned in California?

By: FAYLYNN VIDRO

Living in California definitely has its advantages but wanting a furry mouse/cat like pet, isn’t one of them. Due to California’s wildlife ecosystem, having any alien, exotic, or invasive species is taken very seriously and was made illegal. Currently only the states of California and Hawaii have this law set in place, which means their pretty much up for grabs anywhere else.

Feral ferrets sightings are quite infrequent, due to the fact they don’t do well in the wild themselves. These creatures have been a domesticated species for at least 2,500 year. Pat Wright from LegalizeFerrets.org says “It’s like calling your poodle a wolf,” in a newsletter written in 2015. They can be helpful for companionship, hunting, and rodent control. Thus there are fears of ferrets escaping their breeders, or are released in the wild. 

Questioning why in the world ferrets would be illegal in certain states, some people believe their reasonings are due to ferret attacks. In an Interview with Mr. Write he mentioned, “They’re legal almost everywhere, and there’s never been a problem with domesticated ferrets anywhere, period,” he later goes on to say, “When was the last time you read an article about a ferret attack, feral ferrets or anything negative about ferrets?” Though Mr. Write makes an excellent point, ferrets are mainly illegal in certain states to help the environment and the animals in the environment. “There’s a great deal of risk with owning ferrets because they can escape and go into the environment and kill some of our more sensitive species,” said Tim Kroeker of the California Department of Fish and Game.

There were about four bills from 1994 to 1999 that attempted to legalize ferrets for pets, but all failed to pass. When another bill in 2004 made it to a former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said, “too bureaucratic and it legalizes ferrets prior to conducting an environmental impact report.”

Ironically you could still find ferret products at your local pet store, though they claim to sell these products for they can be used with other animals, not just ferrets.

Good or bad ferrets are illegal in the states of California and Hawaii, though there have been attempts in the past to free these animals as pets, there are still many states that have legalized them. These states make it clear they take owning exotic animals very seriously, for the animals themselves and the wildlife around them. The future will decide for us whether ferrets should be legalized or not, for now maybe stick to dogs and cats.

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