From: Stephanie Mudgett <>
Ferret Services of Freedom
Freedom, NH

Date: Mon, 06 Sep 1999

Hi there,

I am including an attachment done in Word that I hope you can open. It was my personal letter to Dr. Taylor. It was not done with any malice--it was done with a concerned heart.....I have not heard from him yet, and am not sure I will. But in response to your post, here are some answers to your questions. I hope they will be helpful to you.

There are NO feral colonies of ferrets in NH.
In fact, I recently received the Ferret Association of Connecticut's newsletter and they mention
a family of mink that was mistaken as ferrets. Could these be the "feral ferrets" Dr. Taylor refers to in his letter? These mink apparently had even the animal control officer mistaking them for ferrets.

1) Roughly how many ferrets does your shelter take in a month?

My shelter runs in cycles. I cannot say how many we take in a month. However, because it is the fall, we are receiving many calls from ferret owners needing to give up their ferrets. But if I had to average over a year,
I would say my shelter takes in roughly one ferret a month.
(We are a very small shelter)

2) Roughly how many ferrets (on average) entering your shelter are "escaped or dumped" -i.e. found outside as strays -vs- being handed over by the actual owners.

Over the past 4 years, we have had 5 ferrets come in that were "found" running loose.
5 "loose" ferrets out of a total of 58 ferrets in 4 years.

3) To the best of your knowledge, has legalization of ferrets in NH lead to an increase of escaped or dumped ferrets?

I can't answer this, since I didn't even know what a ferret was until they were legalized in December of 1992.
I would say no. The dumping is a result of not having a place to take them (shelter, another home, etc.).

4) How has the legalization of ferrets in NH (1993?) affected the following:

- Health of ferrets in NH
- Temperament/socialization of ferrets in NH
- Likelihood of ferrets being "dumped" or set loose in the state of NH
- Bite incidents

NH governor Jeanne Shaheen declared June 12th as Ferret Appreciation Day in 1997
I have a copy of her proclamation, if you'd like it--it's in Word format or I can fax it to you. It would be my guess that since NH is a ferret-friendly state, and the first one in the nation to approve a quarantine for ferrets that bite or scratch, that the health of ferrets is much improved, that they are accepted as pets and therefore ferret owners are not maligned or treated discriminately. As for ferrets being dumped, I feel that owners will do that as a last resort when they cannot find a home for them. Regarding bite statistics, I would suggest calling someone at the NH Department of Public Health (603-271-4501) and ask them to direct you to the correct department.

5) Who do you consider to be the top ferret vets in your area? Is there a particular one that your shelter uses?

The top ferret vets in NH would be Dr. George Messenger of Fisherville Animal Hospital in Penacook, NH and Dr. Mike Dutton of Weare Animal Hospital in Weare, NH.
There may be others, but I am not aware of them.
We use the services of Dr. Steve Caffrey of Fryeburg Veterinary Hospital in Fryeburg, Maine
(because we are close to Maine and ferrets have been legal in the state of Maine longer than in NH).

6) Any comments on the quote:

"If it were possible to go back and prevent their legalization here in NH I would do it, despite the fact that individually I may enjoy them very much. "

Regarding his quote, it concerns me very much. It seems a contradiction for him to say that and then add that he enjoys them very much. I sure would like to know what he means by this. WHY would he prevent their legalization, if he could do it over again??? The issues he has presented in his letter are all hogwash and can be disputed, so there has to be an underlying issue here (payoff, perhaps???).

7) Any other comments:

I hope this helps you. If I can be of further assistance, please let me know.


Stephanie Mudgett
Ferret Services of Freedom


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