Past Legalization Efforts
Council Member Kathyrn Freed's Bill to Legalize Ferrets
Public Hearing 12/18/00


The Public Hearing on December 18th, 2000, went pretty well. The Hearing was an opportunity for the public to speak in favor of or against a proposed law to legalize ferrets in New York City's five boroughs. That proposed law is currently titled Intro 627: The Ferret Regulation Bill. Based upon the information presented at the hearing and/or submitted by mail, the City Council Health Committee will decide whether or not the bill will move forward to the full City Council for a vote. (Note: The Department of Health is different from the City Council Health Committee. The Department of Health created the ferret ban. The City Council Health Committee may be instrumental in overturning it. -Read more about How a Bill Becomes a Law in NYC.)

Approximately 30 supporters attended the Public Hearing at City Hall. Of those attending, approximately 15 people spoke in favor of legalizing ferrets in New York City's five boroughs including the Humane Society, the ASPCA and numerous veterinarians. (Although we did not obtain a copy of their statements, they sounded similar, if not identical, to their previous statements in favor of legalizing ferrets in NYC) Not one person attending the hearing spoke against the legalization of ferrets. Although a larger turn out would have been better, we would like to THANK all the people who took the time to attend the hearing and make their wishes known.

Once again, the Department of Health (DOH) did not show up in person. They have yet to show up for any hearing or meeting in which they might actually be questioned and forced to defend their statements. Instead they submitted a lengthy statement which was, not surprisingly, filled with inaccuracies and misinformation. The statement was read out loud for the benefit of others attending the hearing.

Mary Shefferman (From Modern Ferret Magazine) also had this to add about the Hearing, after speaking with a reporter from the LA Times.

Today, I spoke with a reporter from the LA Times who told me that Peter Vallone, the head (the Speaker, I believe is his title) of the City Council stated that it is his feeling that the burden of proof is on the City's administration to prove to him (and, presumably, other members of the City Council) that ferrets are in fact a danger -- he thinks they are not. If this is so, then things look pretty good for this legislation right now -- but that doesn't mean New Yorkers can rest. We can only rest after ferrets have been legalized. We will await news as to whether the Committee turns the legislation over to the full Council for vote -- though I strongly suspect this will indeed happen.

The next step for New York City people will be to write to or meet with their City Council Member to let him or her know you'd like them to support this legislation (Intro. 627)..... The City Council is the best bet for New Yorkers to get ferrets legalized and they should all be treated with respect. Remember -- your City Council Member may already support the legislation.


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