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Since June of 1999 ferrets have been illegal in all five boroughs of New York City. In that time ferrets have swelled to become the United States 3rd most popular pet. Despite ferrets being illegal in our city, there are countless ferret owners who live within city limits. This is because ferrets are small, clean (can be litter trained), quiet animals who can sleep upwards of 18 hours a day, easily adjusting to their owner's lifestyle. This allows people who normally would not be able to own pets to enjoy pet ownership from an animal which is just as engaging as a cat or dog. Many of these owners live in fear of seizures occuring when disgruntled neighbors phone in calls, or as they transport them to their neccessary vet care. During this time period where ferrets have been illegal (despite being legal in the rest of the state), there have been many efforts to have them legalized. However efforts have been scattered and the primary issues that were rasied by both the health board and the city have never been addressed.
This time will be different because we are a collective of ferret lovers willing to make compromises that addresses many issues of those in opposition of ferret ownership, but also allows for those who are in favor to enjoy their companions. This proposal has also been submitted to the mayor's office with a pending hearing occuring sometime in the spring. We hope to gather as many supporters before making our case to the Department Health and Mental Hygiene.
Our proposal is:
To amend section 161.01 of the New York City Health Code to reclassify ferrets as domestic animals, and no longer be banned in the five boroughs.
1)Requiring that all ferrets must be regestered with the New York City Health and Mental Hygiene Department. Ferrets must obtain an annual rabies vaccination, as well as a microchip (whose number must be provided) in order to apply for a license.
2)An initial license fee of $50, with the funds going to ferret shelters, and regulatory boards. An additional $15 license every year thereafter.
3)For all ferrets to wear both their rabies tag and license tag at all times when outside or pay a $75 fee for each infraction.
4)For ferrets to be illegal to sell in pet stores. However they can be available for adoption from rescues, and be transferred between private individuals. The importation of ferrets from outside of the city is allowed only as pet status.
5) That all female ferrets must be altered before six months of age, and males by 1 years of age.
6) That all ferrets when outdoors must be restrained on a leash or contained in an appropriate pet carrier.
By having these conditions we hope to appease any health, or economical concerns both the City of New York as well as the general public may have.