You must have come across a few animals that are illegal as pets in various countries. California is one of them and has one of the toughest laws on exotic pet ownership. April 2, is National Ferret Day, but California will not be celebrating it. This policy dates back to 1933. It is based on environmental threat-related factors. Moreover, the government points out characteristic differences between wild and domesticated ones. Let us find out the various facets of this ban on ferrets.
Know More about Ferrets
Ferrets have been human companions for a long time. People domesticate them, to hunt rabbits and control rodents. Ferrets have been domesticated for 2,500 years. Many people are unaware that ferrets are different from wild ferrets, weasels, and polecats. Moreover, domesticated ferrets do not have invasive tendencies. Around 48 states in the US have allowed ferrets as pets. Nobody seems to have heard of ferret attacks. So, why California Government has to do that?
There are many debates in various circles regarding these innocent animals. However, crackdowns are rampant in places like California. Pet ferrets are being seized at State Agricultural Inspection Centers. There have been cases in Santa Ana, where ferrets were reportedly seized from an owner. If reports are to be believed, the ferrets were a playful bunch. Ferrets make great pets for people, who can devote adequate time to their care. They are social and playful creatures. The most ferocious thing that they are capable of doing is biting. However, it is similar to that of a cat.
Many organizations are of the opinion, that there are more dangerous animals around. Take the example of cats. They are capable of causing bacterial infections, but they are allowed everywhere. Dog bites are also reported annually. Some even cause deaths. However, the government does not include them in the ban. It seems that the state’s ban is needlessly keeping people from owing cute ferrets as pets.
Why Ferrets are not allowed in California?
Ferrets are not allowed in California because they are considered a threat to agriculture and wildlife. The main reason is that ferrets are reducing the populations of certain species of animals, like many small creatures, fishes, and many reptiles. And they may be dangerous for young children. Ferrets are not allowed in the state because they are a non-native species that the state considers a threat.
Primarily, the rules protect the following:
- Public health
- Natural Resources
In addition to prohibiting the possession of animals considered endangered or protected in other regions, California also prohibits the sale and purchase of any animal that is classified as an endangered or protected species.
This is for climatic reasons in regions with harsh climates like California; animals require more space and less human contact to survive. This is the reason why some animals have been banned in California.
In California, ferrets can thrive in the wild and increase the threat to native species. In addition, in the United States, each state is a sovereign entity and can enforce its own laws if it doesn’t violate rights guaranteed by federal law or Constitution.
States where ferrets are subject to the Ban
Ferrets are not illegal in some states, but under certain restrictions, they may be. Some of these restrictions may include:
- Compulsory vaccination of rabies.
- A State-wide permit is required.
- The specific cities prohibited by the local authorities are.
- If you have a small child in your home, its ownership is illegal.
- It is illegal to sell.
- A permit is required to bring a ferret inside the state.
Although the Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) has banned certain pet species from being possessed, there is potentially a way to own some of these pets. A permit can be issued for certain species on a case-by-case basis, but ferrets are not among them.
Tough Laws on Exotic Pets
The California Fish and Game Code considers keeping an animal that is endangered and can cause harm to public health, agriculture, and fisheries, as illegal. Another reason, to ban them is the non-availability of any rabies vaccines for ferrets. Moreover, they have little orientation power. That means, if they leave home, they may not be able to return. In that case, they can catch rabies. And, those ferrets can bite infants and younger children and cause serious complications.
It is a non-indictable offense. You ought to know about the fines and penalties associated with the ownership of certain exotic pets. A civil fine is normally levied, which ranges between $500-and $10,000. In addition to the fine, the cost of relocation, storage, and care of ferrets is charged. Criminal prosecution also takes place, which is punishable by up to a period of six months or another fine. The State of California has the right to confiscate illegal pets, like ferrets. Moreover, the government has the right to send the animals to a zoo, or a laboratory, or can get them euthanized.
Many organizations have come ahead for the legalization of ferrets. However, one cannot keep ferrets in California without a permit. Escaped or abandoned pets pose a threat to the environment, including native animals and birds. Thus, you can legally import a ferret or transport it to California. And, those who can need to have a permit and a cause. It is allowed only for legal purposes like medical research and for transportation to other areas.
Today, many of the reasons stated for their ban does not hold true. Signing a petition is the only way out. Additionally, many welfare organizations are also fighting for the cause. Let us hope, they are legalized soon.