California Fish and Game Commission Meeting THURSDAY, DECEMBER 16, 2010. Prepared by:. Picking up where we left off…. The Commission’s 2005 Policy Statement on Introduction of Non-Native Species, states: “Proposals to introduce exotic species shall be submitted
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THURSDAY, DECEMBER 16, 2010
The Commission’s 2005 Policy Statement on Introduction of Non-Native Species, states:
“Proposals to introduce exotic species shall be submitted
to the Commission for approval. The Department will review
and evaluate proposals to insure that the potential effects of
such introductions will not have unacceptable negative
impacts on native species, agriculture interests, and public
health and safety.”
Today we officially submit our proposal to introduce
The domesticated ferret as a legal pet in California.
What is needed:
The Proponent commissioned a detailed, comprehensive study of the issues surrounding legalization of ferret ownership in California, prepared by G. O. Graening, Ph.D., MSE
Department of Biological Sciences, California State University, Sacramento.
Key Findings of Dr. Graening’s Report:
Given the low level of potential for significant impact, a lower level of environmental review is appropriate.
In 1933, ferrets were banned in California by the Fish and Game Commission and the Department of Food and Agriculture, presumably as wild animals.
Legalization efforts have been under way since 1986.
Since 1933, ferrets have been classified as detrimental mammals because they have not been determined by the Fish and Game Commission to be normally domesticated in California.Because of this, they are seen as posing a threat to native wildlife and agriculture, as well as to public health and safety. Existing law prohibits importation and possession of ferrets in California.
Numerous studies have shown that dogs and cats can damage wildlife and agriculture, and at times have posed threats to public health and safety, yet they are not regulated by the Fish and Game Commission.
The ferret is a domesticated mammal of the type Mustela putorius furo. Ferrets are sexually dimorphic predators with males being substantially larger than females. They typically have brown, black, white, or mixed fur, have an average length of 20 inches (51 cm) including a 5-inch (13 cm) tail, weigh about 1.5 to 4 pounds (0.7 to 2 kg), and have a natural lifespan of 7 to 10 years.
Several other small, elongated carnivorous mammals belonging to the family Mustelidae (weasels) also have the word ferret in their common names, including an endangered species, the Black-Footed Ferret.
The history of the ferret's domestication is uncertain, like that of most other domestic animals, but it is likely that ferrets have been domesticated for at least 2,500 years. They are still used for hunting rabbits in someparts of the world, but increasingly they are being kept simply as pets.
Source: Fox J G: Taxonomy, history and use. In Fox JG, ed Biology and Diseases of the Ferret, 2nd ed.
Baltimore, Williams and Wilkins 1998, pp 3-18
Ferrets are part of the family.
Publications such as the one pictured, have contributed to keeping domesticated ferret ownership illegal in California.
Pet European Ferrets, A Hazard to Public Health, Small Livestock and Wildlife, 1988 by the California Department of Health Services
“The HSUS recognizes that domestic ferrets have become increasingly popular as pets in recent years and can be kept legally as pets in nearly every state.”
Over the last 14 years, in every survey done in all 50 states before they legalized ferrets, no evidence of feral ferrets was found anywhere at any time.
"Discussions (by telephone) with personnel in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, South Carolina and Wyoming elicited no evidence of feral colonies of ferrets or of any significant survival of the animals in the wild, nor of reported impact on native wildlife caused by escaped domestic ferrets.This is consistent with the reports from various state wildlife agencies included in the California Domestic Ferret Association compilation.”
Ferrets: a Selective Overview of Issues and Options
Prepared By Kenneth W. Umbach, Ph.D.
The frequency of ferret bites has not
been demonstrated to be greater than
the rates for dogs or cats, whose bite
frequencies are considered to be
acceptable risks that are outweighed by
the benefits of their companionship.
The CSUS questionnaire of health departments in the United States has not revealed any major opposition to ferret ownership; where agency personnel did comment, their concern focused on infants left unsupervised with ferrets.
Provided that effective mitigation measures are incorporated into a legalization action, this potential impact upon human health could be reduced to a less-than-significant level. This issue may not need to be analyzed further in the EIR.
Council) claims 27 percent of the
nation’s ferret supplies are sold in
to the state of California.
People are reluctant to seek veterinary care including vaccinations for their ferrets, for fear of being reported and losing their pets.
There have been no citations issued for ferrets in California this year.
“The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly.”