Past Legalization Efforts
Lawsuit against Mayor Giuliani and the Department of Health
Affidavit of Dr. James K. Morrisey






) SS.:


Dr. JAMES K. MORRISEY, being duly sworn, deposes and says:

1. I am a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, licensed in the State of New York. I graduated from Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1992. I currently practice at The Animal Medical Center located at 510 East 62nd Street, New York City.

2. I have been working with ferrets since I graduated and have been practicing exotic animal medicine (birds, ferrets, rabbits, rodents, reptiles, zoo animals) since 1994. I did an internship at Kansas State University in Exotic Animal, Wildlife, and Zoo Animal Medicine. I then performed a residency in Avian and Exotic Pet Medicine and Surgery at The Animal Medical Center. I then did postdoctoral work at the University of Wisconsin in Special Species Medicine and Surgery. I currently work with the Avian and Exotic Pet Service at our hospital, which comprises 6 veterinarians dedicated to nontraditional species. I work with 1-5 ferrets each day and lecture about ferret medicine and surgery around the country to pet owners and other veterinarians. I have also written several book chapters on the domestic ferret.

3. The ferrets seen at our hospital are all kept as pets and are cherished members of the family and typically live for 6 to 8 years. These pets are friendly, playful, and inquisitive. They are easy to work with and nonaggressive animals as patients.

4. Ferrets have many habits similar to cats and are cared for in much the same way. These pets are very clean and can be taught to use litter boxes. They are interactive, intelligent pets that can be kept easily with other ferrets, dogs, and cats.

5. We recommend a yearly physical examination and vaccinations for canine distemper virus and rabies virus. The rabies vaccine has been proven to be efficacious in ferrets since 1990. (Rupprecht CE, Gilbert J, Pitts R, et al. Evaluation of an inactivated rabies virus vaccine in domestic ferrets. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, May 15, 1990, pages 1614-1616) There have been only 14 confirmed cases of rabies in domestic ferrets since 1958.

6. For these reasons, I believe that ferrets make excellent pets and are usually very well cared for by their owners. I would encourage the New York City policy on ferrets to be amended and that these animals be afforded the same rights of other domesticated companion pets, such as dogs and cats.


James K. Morrisey, DVM,
Dipl., ABVP (Avian Specialty)
October 13, 1999


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