Ferreting out the dangers of exotic pets

California lawmakers should reject calls to overturn the state’s ban on keeping ferrets as pets. Just last week, a 4-month-old Missouri baby lost most of his fingers after the family’s pet ferret ate them while the child was sleeping. A few years ago, a 5-week-old Ohio girl was bitten at least 50 times and needed 100 stitches.
Although breeders churn them out and market them as if they require little care, ferrets are highly energetic, active, and curious. They cannot be kept continuously caged. They are prone to biting if startled, excited, or handled improperly. Ferrets have their own distinct scent and may or may not be able to be litter-trained. Aggressive chewers and diggers, many become victims of abandonment or neglect when their owners grow tired of replacing carpeting, sofa stuffing, shoes or stereos that have been destroyed.
Shelters and rescue groups across the country have to cope with the aftermath when people surrender exotic animals they once “had to” have. Many are euthanized.
For the sake of the animals and for the well-being of their constituents, California legislators should keep the ban on ferrets in place.

Jennifer O’Connor

Research Specialist
PETA Foundation

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