Barry N. Taylor, DVM
Franklin Veterinary Clinic
39 Hill Road
West Franklin, NH 03235
Ban on Ferrets
Dear Dr. Taylor:
I do not usually
write letters in response to issues such as this, but this is an
issue very close to my heart and I hope you will take the time to
read this letter, as it is not done in condemnation.
read with interest your letter regarding your stand on ferrets.
You begin by stating you have been a vet for 15 years and I
am very pleased to hear that you treat ferrets at your practice.
Any vet who is willing to treat ferrets and learn about them
is a valued vet, and one that I give much praise and respect.
state, however, that a ferret may be a wonderful pet, as could
a tiger cub. I believe there is a huge difference between
a ferret and a tiger cub and your analogy is curious.
for ferrets escaping, it is not a common occurrence.
owners are very cautious about their ferrets escaping. It is
very common knowledge that one must "ferret proof"
a house or room before getting a ferret. Regarding your statement
that dozens show up in local shelters all the time, it is my
understanding that most humane societies do not want to deal
with ferrets. As for ferret shelters, there are presently three
in NH and these three shelters deal exclusively with the domestic
relation to the total amount of ferrets taken in, a very small
percentage have been found loose,
to the number of ferrets turned in because their owners tired
recently received a newsletter from an organization
in Connecticut that states that a
family of mink was mistaken for ferrets. From
what I understand, no one has been able to substantiate your
statement that there are feral colonies of ferrets in Connecticut.
Could these mink be the "feral ferrets" you are referring
to? As a ferret shelter operator, I have not seen many unaltered
ferrets. The majority of ferrets are purchased in a pet store
and these ferrets have been altered by the breeder before shipment.
Being a veterinarian, you must have access to books such as
Biology & Diseases of the Ferret, by James G. Fox,
edition one and two, and Ferrets, Rabbits and Rodents
by Hillyer & Quesenberry. Both books discuss the difficulty
in breeding ferrets and the many complications that can
occur. It is not possible in the United States for these pets,
domestic ferrets, to survive in the wild and become feral.
Their hunting instincts are all but extinct. If a ferret does
kill a small animal, it is usually because it is trying to play
with it and it is too rough. Cats are
far more dangerous to small animals and birds and they populate
statement about ferrets and rabies, considerable studies have been
conducted on this issue. There is an approved vaccine available
for ferrets, as you are aware. The fact that there is an approved
vaccine, licensed for use on ferrets, tells us that ferrets have
been considered as pets for a long time.
note your paragraph on the interaction with infants. Any animals
interaction with infants bothers me--whether it is a cat, dog,
puppy, kitten, ferret, or other pet. This is where parental
responsibility and common sense should come in to play.
I am writing is to invite you to visit our shelter and see for yourself
the number of abandoned, unwanted animals. These animals have done
nothing wrong. We care for them and provide for them until they
are either adopted out or they pass on. We are a no-kill shelter.
Where will all these suddenly-illegal ferrets in NYC go? There are
no shelters that will take them. They may be abandoned on the streets,
or taken to humane societies that have no experience in their special
needs and maintenance. At any rate, many, many ferrets will die.
have found that ferrets are high-stress animals. They do not
adjust well to change of any sort, including food, home, water,
owners. If their food is changed on them, they will starve themselves
rather than eat a different brand. They are prone to stomach
ulcers and diseases from stress.
are sensitive little creatures that are highly intelligent and
curious. On the other hand, they have a playful nature that
is a wonderful stress-reducer for us human beings after a tough
day at work. They are very loving and bond with their owners
and each other.
excellent pets for someone who lives in a city and space is
limited, and they do not make any noise. They are quite popular
in Japan! I would urge you to reconsider your letter regarding
your position on ferrets.
any veterinarian, keeping up with the latest in veterinary medicine
for ferrets must be particularly challenging and frustrating. Not
a lot is known as compared to cats and dogs. In order to become
familiar with the latest in ferret care, vets must travel many miles
and spend many dollars. Since ferrets do not make up a huge chunk
of their practice, most vets in NH will not pursue this. We work
very closely with Steve Caffrey of the Fryeburg Veterinary Hospital
in Fryeburg, Maine. He is concerned about the number of ferrets
his practice sees that have serious illnesses. He, too, is frustrated
by the lack of ferret medical information available on a local basis.
He has indicated an interest in attending a local conference on
ferret medicine, if it can be provided. Is this anything that would
interest you? I would be very happy to research holding a ferret
medicine veterinarian conference here in the state of New Hampshire
if there is enough interest.
I hope this
letter has not offended you and I hope you will read it in its entirety.
If you are able to respond, it would be appreciated. We want to
help you with regard to ferrets and not burden you.
Ferret Services of Freedom