Past Legalization Efforts
Council Member Kathyrn Freed's Bill to Legalize Ferrets
Press Conference 9/9/99


Council Member Kathryn Freed introduced her Ferret Regulation Bill (Intro 627) to the New York City Council on September 9th, 1999. A press conference followed at 12 noon in front of the New York City Department of Health at 125 Worth Street in Manhattan.

While supporters of the bill gathered in front of the DOH awaiting the start of the press conference, police approached Council Member Freed and informed her that they had strict orders to confiscate any ferrets that they saw. Fortunately the few ferrets that had shown up were not seen by the police (who were speaking with Ms Freed further down the block) and were quickly whisked away to safety.

Although Ms. Freed tried to reason with the police officers and explained that any ferrets showing up were doing so specifically for the press conference in which she was introducing her Ferret Regulation Bill to legalize ferrets in NYC, the police just replied that they had to carry out their orders. I will say to the credit of the police that were present (about 10 of them ready to confiscate ferrets!), that they were polite about it, but they were very firm in stating that all ferrets seen would be confiscated and taken to the New York City Center for Animal Control. I spoke with Lieutenant Mc Keever of the 5th Precinct and asked what would happen to ferrets that were confiscated. He told me that their orders were to turn them all over the the Center For Animal Control and that's all he knew to do. He said he really didn't have any idea what would happen with them from there on in nor did he have knowledge about what CAC would do with them once they arrived there.

Marc Morrone and his macaw "Harry" spoke to the cameras at the press conference on behalf of ferrets. Marc Morrone and his ferret "Splash" are well known for their regular appearances on the TV show Martha Stewart Living. Splash did not attend the Press Conference. If he had, he would have been confiscated by police and possibly euthanized by Animal Control.

Mary and Eric Shefferman from Modern Ferret Magazine were at the conference to show their support. Several other ferret supporters were there including Scott MacKenzie president, of the Legion of Superferrets (LOS) of New York, who showed up with a Petco "Rocket" beanie ferret on his shoulder! He got lots of attention from the TV cameras and photographers!

Gary Kaskel and his ferrets held an additional press conference with NY1 later that afternoon.

The turnout might have been even larger had it not been for a last minute change in the date of the Press Conference. Apparently, the City Council usually meets on Wednesdays. The press conference was supposed to be scheduled to follow the City Council meeting where Ms. Freed would introduce the Ferret Regulation Bill (Intro 627). However, Ms. Freed's office forgot that because of the holiday weekend, the council meeting for that week was scheduled for Thursday instead of Wednesday. Apparently someone realized the scheduling error when the work week resumed on Tuesday and changed the Press Conference from Wednesday to Thursday so that it could follow the City Council meeting as originally planned. Unfortunately, most people who were planning to attend the Press Conference were not aware of the schedule change until Tuesday night.


"Introduced legislation?", "introduced a bill?", "Public Hearing?" -what does it all mean?
Read more about How a Bill Becomes a Law in New York City.


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