An estimated tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of people in California are believed to be harboring “thieves” in their household. These particular thieves have distinctive physical features that include long, slender bodies, weigh under 5 lbs., and are often born with a dark burglar’s mask. I am of course referring to ferrets, whose name literally translates to “tiny thief”.
They are legal everywhere in the United States except California and Hawaii. For California their legality is connected to their misclassification as a “wild” animal despite being domesticated from polecats 2,500 years ago, and the fact that nowhere in the continental U.S. have any escaped ferrets been successful in establishing a feral colony - including California where they’ve been living under the radar for decades.
This is due to how this animal’s domestication has led them to be both intolerant of extreme temperatures and their incredibly curious nature that draws them straight to danger. Plus, it’s standard practice that they are fixed and descented before heading to the pet store.
If I were rich, I’d carve out time to stretch my muscles and stretch my joints, and I would breathe in and breathe out, and I would visualize the light rising up and then descending...
So why are they so popular and why do groups such as LegalizeFerrets.org push so hard to change the legislation against them? Afterall, we still have a pick of companion animals like dogs, cats, and birds to name a few. It’s because, just like the animals listed here, they have their own unique personality and endearing traits you’re not likely to find in any other animal.
I am one who grew up with an assortment of animals as my mom, while working for an animal clinic, would bring home many kinds for rehabilitation when the facility needed room for new animal patients. Not many kids could say they were late to school because their guest owl escaped its cage and thought the armchair was the perfect place to nap that morning. Having my fair share of experiences with many types of animals there is just something incredibly novel about ferrets.
We’re talking about a big sized personality in a tiny - and incredibly adorable - package. They can be trained to fetch, roll over, walk on a leash, come when called, and use a litter box . Ferrets have even been employed to run cables for electrical and aviation companies or used as hunters of rabbits and other animals that wreak havoc for farmers. Unique only begins to describe them.
Ferrets are clever, mischievous, loving, and joyful. They will steal your socks, kid’s toys, or anything else they can get their paws on and drag them away to what is known as a “stash pile”. At my sister’s in Las Vegas I have witnessed many a stuffed animal hopping across the house as its escort runs it toward a closet to snuggle with. Or have been surprised to open a drawer only to find a small business of them - ‘business’ being the actual name for a group of them - napping under a pile of clean rags.
Joy assured me that, while taking a little time as all breads do, these are easy and quick to pull together.
And when they’re excited and want you to play with them they will jump around you, rolling all over themselves in what is known as a weasel war dance. They’re incredibly social and bond closely to their people and other pet companions.
Any arguments that have been presented as to keep the current unjust laws in place have long been discredited. Even the cost of the CEQA study the Department of Fish and Wildlife would need conducted before changing the restriction has been offered to be covered by ferret advocacy groups. Yet time after time the efforts to legalize ferrets are rejected mostly out of ignorance or blind assumptions.
Now, I realize this fight for ferret legalization pales in comparison to some of the very big issues we’re facing here in California, but the principle of the matter is important where too many aspects of our life are being overly controlled. And if there is anything Libertarians stand for it’s principle...and decreasing government control.
To help undo outdated ferret laws reach out to your state legislators and get some extra push by requesting supportive letters from your local elected officials. Let’s turn these fun, charismatic, four-legged refugees into welcomed citizens of the state of California.
23 stories explaining the Central Coast's history, landscape, and traditions from Judith Dale
Judith Dale has written several columns highlighting the culture, geography and history of the Central Coast. Get better acquainted with our beautiful slice of California with this collection of her work.
Recently we had relatives visiting from Kansas. Due to COVID-19, rather than doing the usual "touristy" things such as eating out, wine tastin…
Santa Catalina Island (usually called just Catalina) is the third largest of the California Channel Islands — only Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa a…
Originally, I was only going to write about the five islands in the Channel Islands National Park. However, some military personnel stationed …
This is the third and final article in a series covering the five islands that make up the Channel Islands National Park. The three remaining …
In my last article, I discussed the Santa Barbara Channel and its islands in general. This article will focus on two of five islands in Channe…
The Santa Ynez Valley is a wonderful place for children to grow up. We have excellent schools, churches, nonprofits and sports organizations t…
A neighbor who recently moved to the Santa Ynez Valley asked me about the Santa Barbara Channel and the islands she sees off the coast. I told…
So far we are good in Santa Barbara County, but until the first major rain, we are still in danger as our last major fires were during the months of November (Cave Fire) and December (Thomas Fire).
With over 4 million acres having burned so far this year in California, we have not had any major fires in Santa Barbara County. But with all the hot weather we have had and no rain in months, we are still in danger.
Due to arson or carelessness, 430,088 acres and 701 structures burned in these fires spanning 22 years.
We have the perfect setting for fires: thousands of acres of wilderness with rugged terrain and few roads; rainy winter weather that allows grass and brush to grow, followed by months of hot, dry weather; prevailing winds as well as sundowner winds; and people, who are the cause of most fires.
This new Space Force opens the way for Vandenberg to become a spaceport that can launch not only military missiles and satellites, but private and commercial projects as well.
La Purisima Mission is the 11th of the 21 missions founded in California.
At one time, Hollister and his partners, the Dibblee Brothers, owned all the land between Refugio Beach and Point Conception. They owned all the land grants around Point Concepcion, the Ortega family’s Refugio Grant, the La Purisima Mission lands and the San Julian Ranch.
What do Foxen Canyon Road in Los Olivos, the community of Sisquoc, the American army capturing the Santa Barbara Presidio in 1846, an elementary school and the Foxen Vineyard and Winery all have in common?
Las Cruses was a small community that no longer exists, but it has an important history.
The forest contributes nearly $103.4 million annual revenue to local businesses who gain from people visiting from all over the nation to hike, bike and camp in our mountains.
We often overlook and take for granted the importance of the river to our past development and more importantly to our future development and quality of life.
This is the bookend article to looking back at Buellton during the decade of the 1920s. This article looks at the establishment of Solvang during that same time.
Judith Dale discusses the two major events in the 1920s that set the groundwork for what the city of Buellton is today.
Judith Dale looks back to 1920, offering a timeline of progress the U.S. has made over the last 100 years. In most areas such as life expectancy, industry, technology, and position in the world, the U.S. has come a long way. However, many of the social/cultural challenges the country faced in the 1920s, are still with us today.
This month marks the 215th year anniversary of the Old Mission Santa Inés, established in September of 1804. The mission was officially named …