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


New York City Council Member Kathryn E. Freed

On Friday June 25, 1999, NYC Council Member Kathryn E. Freed submitted legislation to the New York City Council to override the DOH's ferret ban and re-legalize ferrets in New York City's five boroughs.

On September 9th, 1999, that legislation became a bill and was introduced to the New York City Council as Intro 627: The Ferret Regulation Bill. (Read about the Press Conference that followed.)

The City Council has the authority to pass Council Member Freed's bill and make it a local law re-legalizing ferrets in New York City.

On April 19th, 2001, the City Council Health Committee approved Intro 627-A.

On May 9th, 2001, Intro 627-A passed the full City Council vote.

On May 21, 2001, Mayor Giuliani Vetoed (turned down) the bill.


Update 6/20/01

Unfortunately, ferrets will not be legalized this time around.

There weren't enough confirmed "yes" votes to warrant the scheduling of a second City Council vote to override the Mayor's veto. We didn't do too poorly though. We were only about 4 votes short of what we needed. Considering that this was the first time an organized group of ferret owners tried to change this law, we actually did very well. Were it not for Mayor Giuliani and the Department of Health that he appointed, ferrets would have been legal by now (but then again, without them ferrets wouldn't have been made illegal in the first place!). Additionally, if we'd had just a few more ferret supporters in the districts of people who voted "no" or "abstained" we also would have won this time around.


Those of you who took the time to write and call your Council Members had a tremendous impact.

I made calls to every Council Member and many were swamped with letters and calls about our bill. Others had lots of mail (which helped), but unfortunately none of the mail was from people in their district. It's important to remember that if you got involved, then YOU didn't lose. YOU were successful. Council Members who heard from people in their district supported our bill. You got our bill past the Committee vote, past the Full City Council vote and your Council Members were ready to vote "yes" again if there had been an override vote. Your letters and calls did make a difference and you were successful. The only people who failed this time around are the people who, -no matter how passionate they were, and no matter how much they said they wanted ferrets legalized- did not pick up the phone to call their Council Member and did not take the time to write a simple letter. It's that simple. Council Members who received calls and letters from people in their district voted "yes".


What Happens Now? Updated 11/28/01

We will try to re-introduce the bill in 2002 once the new members of the City Council take office. Since Kathryn's term on the City Council will be up in 2002, we'll need to find a new Council Member to sponsor the bill. The new bill may take some time (if you check the dates at the top of this page, you'll see that the first bill took us over 2 years from start to finish) but we'll be sure to let you know what's happening as we go along. Join our Mailing List and check out our Current Legalization Efforts page to stay informed.


More Information on the Ferret Bill and Council Member Freed

Intro 627-A: The Ferret Regulation Bill
"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.
Take Action! Contact your Elected Council Members!
September 9, 1999 Press Conference following the introduction of our bill to the Health Committee
December 18, 2000 Public Hearing before the City Council Health Committee
April 19, 2001 Kathryn Freed Praises the City Council Health Committee for Voting YES!
May 9, 2001 Freed Thanks Full Council For Supporting Bill To Allow Furry Ferrets As Pets
May 21, 2001 Mayor Giuliani Vetoed the Ferret Bill.