Past Legalization Efforts
Council Member Kathyrn Freed's Bill to Legalize Ferrets
Mayor Vetos Ferret Bill


Timeline of Events

  • On June 29th 1999, the NYC Department of Health outlawed ferrets in New York City's five boroughs.

    Although the Department of Health (DOH) is not actively seeking out ferret owners, ferrets found in NYC's five boroughs will be confiscated and taken to the Center for Animal Control where they may be shipped out of state and/or killed.

  • On September 9th 1999, Council Member Kathryn E. Freed introduced legislation to re-legalize ferrets in NYC

  • On May 9th 2001, the City Council approved the bill to legalize ferrets in NYC

  • On May 21st 2001, Mayor Giuliani vetoed (rejected) the bill.

    On May 21st, 2001, the Mayor held a public hearing on the legalization of ferrets in NYC. There was a very good turnout of ferret supporters and about 10 people spoke in favor of legalizing ferrets including the ASPCA and the Humane Society. Regardless, the Mayor stated that he believed the real issue was that, in his opinion, the Department of Health is within their rights to ban ferrets if they choose to do so and he did not think it was appropriate for the City Council to step in and attempt to override the Department of Health's ban. The Mayor did not state whether or not he thought ferrets were a threat to New York City. He simply said that, in his opinion, the Department Of Health had the authority to ban ferrets and that, also, in his opinion, the City Council did not have the right to interfere. That is the reason he gave for vetoing (turning down) our bill.


What happens next?

The City Council now has the option of holding a second vote before June 20th, to override the Mayor's veto. (See How A Bill Becomes A Law in NYC) If they are successful and pass the bill at the override vote, it will become a law in spite of the Mayor's veto. HOWEVER, it is an option. It's not automatic. The City Council may choose not to hold an override vote.

When our bill first went before the full City Council for a vote on May 9th, we needed a majority vote (26 votes) for our bill to pass. We got those 26 votes. In order to override the Mayor's veto, the City Council would need two thirds of the Council to vote in favor of our bill (34 votes).

The City Council will not hold a second vote unless it becomes clear that there will be 34 Council Members to support the bill. Unless we are able to confirm that we have enough votes for our bill to pass, it would actually be detrimental to us for the Council to schedule an override vote.


What can we do?

Quite simply, we need to confirm that 8 Council Members will change their votes to "yes" and then (once we know we have 34 yes votes) convince the City Council to hold an override vote before June 20th 2001. If we cannot confirm that we will have 34 votes in favor of the bill, there is no point in asking the City Council to schedule a second vote.

It's very important for all ferret supporters to find out who their Council Members are and find out how they voted on May 9th.

  1. First, click below to find out who your Council Member is. Write down the information. Then close the window and come back to this page. Do that now. Find out the name of YOUR Local Council Member.

  2. Next, check to see how your Council Member Voted on May 9th:

    • The Following City Council Members voted in FAVOR of legalizing ferrets:
      Berman, Carrion, DiBrienza, Eisland, Eldridge, Fiala, Fisher, Freed, Harrison, Leffler, Linares, Lopez, Marshall, Michels, Miller, Moskowitz, O'Donovan, Perkins, Povman, Provenzano, Quinn, Reed, Rivera, Robles, Sabini, Vallone.

    • The Following City Council Members voted AGAINST legalizing ferrets:
      Abel, Boyland, Clarke, Dear, Dilán, Golden, Henry, Koslowitz, McCaffrey, Ognibene, Pinkett, Spigner, Watkins.

    • The Following City Council Members ABSTAINED:
      Espada, Foster, Oddo, Robinson, Rodriguez, Warden, Wooten. The Following City Council Members

    • WERE NOT PRESENT the day of the vote:
      Cruz, Lasher, Nelson, Stabile, White.


  3. If your Council Member voted Yes, Click Here.
    If your Council Member voted No, or Abstained, or Was Not Present the day of the vote, Click Here.


Do NOT harass the Mayor. It won't change anything and only makes ferret supporters look bad. This is out of the Mayor's hands now.



<--More about Kathryn Freed's Bill to Legalize Ferrets