How The Ferret Ban Started
NYC Department of Health's "Star Witness"
The link below will take you to a page displaying the letter from the Department of Health's "star witness". When the ban was first instituted on June 29th 1999, this "star witness" -who never appeared in person- was originally know as "The Anonymous Vet from New Hampshire". The letter was obtained through the Freedom of Information Act and has been reprinted in its entirety. * Our comments and links to documents disproving his misinformation have been added in yellow boxes throughout the letter.
It is curious that the New York City Department of Health had to go as far away as NEW HAMPSHIRE to find a vet that considered ferrets a risk to the public. What is also interesting is that the ferret shelters we contacted in New Hampshire never heard of this vet prior to his involvement with the NYC ferret ban. There are respected and well know ferret vets in New Hampshire, however, in "ferret circles" Dr. Taylor seems to be unknown.
Everybody is entitled to an opinion and Dr. Taylor is certainly entitled to his. However, the appalling amount of misinformation in his letter which he presented as fact and not as opinion makes it quite clear that, although Dr. Taylor may indeed be a good vet for other animals, he is certainly not the "Ferret Expert" he claims to be.
Instead of fact-checking the information in Dr. Taylor's letter for accuracy, the New York City Department of Health chose to base its decision on the information presented in Dr. Taylor's letter and to ignore testimony from the ASPCA, the Humane Society, the Animal Medical Center, and the 15 or so other people who spoke in favor of ferrets at the Department of Health's hearings back in June 1999.
Although his contact information is on the letter, please DO NOT harass Dr. Taylor! It will do nothing to further our cause. His involvement in this is over. Direct your energies instead towards helping to undo some of the damage his misinformation created.