Things might be looking up for ferret owners in California. If the Domestic Ferret Act of 2006 is successful, owners of the furry little critters will no longer have to hide in the shadows of American petdom. The initiative would simply declare that a ferret is a domestic animal.
The California Ferret Network and Ferrets Anonymous are organizing "The 3,000 Club" campaign. It's an effort to collect signatures for the proposed initiative. Once they get 3,000 new members and their signatures, they'll submit the initiative to the Secretary of State's office.
"There isn't any doubt that ferrets are domestic animals," said Pat Wright, founder of Ferrets Anonymous and head of its San Diego chapter. "Fish and Game gets around it, though."
California Department of Fish and Game officials say an environmental-impact report must be completed before ferrets are removed from the list of prohibited wild animals. The department has opposed past legislative efforts to fund such a study, Wright notes. Another current piece of legislation would fund the studies, but not necessarily legalize the pets. The Domestic Ferret Bill, or AB 647, would allow the state to spend money on ferret studies. It's scheduled to be acted on in the summer of 2006.
"That won't legalize ferrets, though," said Wright. "It would only give the state the ability to spend $30,000. We need something better."
For details on the ferret cause, see www.legalize ferrets.org.