Contracts Chair Kathryn E. Freed (D-1st District) today
cheered Council approval of her bill which allows the possession
and sale of ferrets within the City for the first time since
1999, when the Health Department issued an administrative
rule barring the furry animals. Council Members voted in
favor of the bill, Int. 627A, despite pressure from Mayor
Giuliani to oppose it.
Mayor should sign this bill to protect the interests of
all ferret owners, who are now unfairly classified as outlaws
by the City," said Freed, the Council animal maven who has
been pushing this bill since the Health Department issued
the ban two years ago. "Ferrets are an ideal choice for
people with allergies, particularly for children who are
sensitive to dogs and cats, these furry creatures offer
children an equal opportunity to have a loving pet."
which are currently legal in 48 states, including New York,
are also extremely popular in Europe and are the number
one pet in Japan. According to statistics from the early
1990's, when they were legal in New York City, there were
only 7 bites per 10,000 ferrets, while there were at least
81 bites per 10,000 dogs. A continued prohibition on ferret
ownership would probably prevent owners from seeking proper
veterinary care for their pets, which will likely spread
disease quicker. The experts note that the US Department
of Agriculture-approved rabies vaccine for ferrets has the
same efficacy as that in dogs and cats.
statistics show that ferrets are even safer than dogs and
cats," said Freed, the owner of three felines herself.
"These animals have been domesticated longer than Cats.
In fact, ferrets are classified as domestic animals by the
USDA, the Smithsonian and the Museum of Natural History.
These are not wild, untamed animals." Freed's bill has been
endorsed by the ASPCA, the Animal Medical Center, the Humane
Society of New York and the New York City Veterinary Medical
Mayor's Office has engaged in unprecedented intense lobbying
of Council Members to uphold the Health Department's ban.
Mayor Giuliani's Office of Legislative Affairs has TWICE
faxed Council Members a one page sheet entitled, "Talking
Points Against the Legalization of Ferrets in New York City."
This sheet contains basically bogus statistics and even
an alleged oft repeated story about a 22 month old child
who was supposedly attacked by a ferret. Lately, the Council
has overridden several Giuliani vetoes on bills, including
Freed's Anti-Sweatshop law and another which requires City
Contractors to follow the Human Rights Law. He appears to
be afraid that the Council will challenge him on yet another
issue, where the Mayor seems to be out of step with average
the Mayor holds press conferences blasting the City Council
for wasting time talking about ferrets, he has his staff
working overtime to lobby people to vote against this,"
said Freed. "I call on the Mayor to look at the facts and
see that ferrets are relatively harmless creatures. He should
sign this bill without delay."