Back to News

Published: Feb 14, 2012

Pet lovers in California could face up to six months in prison and a $1,000 fine. Why? For owning a furry friend that rodent lovers in 48 other states are allowed to keep - a ferret.

Ferrets have been illegal to own in the Golden State for 80 years, but now advocates for the animals are working to legalize the rodents, Fox News reports.

Organizers have started a website,, as they seek a legislator who will take up their cause. They want someone to sponsor a legalization bill by February 27, the news outlet reports.

The ferret advocates seem to have good reason to be fighting for the rights of these small companions. VCA Animal Hospitals reports that ferrets have been domesticated for more than 2,000 years. Although they were originally brought into people's homes for pest control and hunting in Europe, they have become common pets because they are generally good-natured, inquisitive and playful, enjoying the company of humans.

Although they are legal to own in all states except California and Hawaii, wildlife officials in California say they should not be legalized because they are non-native and can be detrimental to wildlife if they escape. Cats, however, are also non-native yet legal, and certain types of cat illness can be spread to wildlife as well.