11,539 supporters

Legalize ferrets in California.

Started 7 petitions

Petitioning California Attorney General Rob Bonta

Asking CA Attorney General - Legal Opinion: Are domestic ferrets domestic, thus legal?

The California State Constitution recognizes our right to own domestic animals: CALIFORNIA STATE CONSTITUTION, CIV DIVISION 2. PROPERTY [654 – 1422] There may be ownership of all inanimate things which are capable of appropriation or of manual delivery; of all domestic animals; of all obligations; of such products of labor or skill as the composition of an author, the good will of a business, trade marks and signs, and of rights created or granted by statute. However, the ferret owners of California have never been able to have one of our legislators answer the question -Does this apply to domestic ferrets? After all, "domestic ferrets" means domestic. California gets around this by saying they are not recognized as normally domesticated in California as determined by the Fish and Game Commission. Ferrets have never had any kind of hearing to determine if they are wild or domestic. According to the California Attorney General’s website: As the chief law officer of the state, the California Attorney General provides legal opinions upon request to designated state and local public officials and government agencies on issues arising in the course of their duties. The formal legal opinions of the Attorney General have been accorded “great respect” and “great weight” by the courts. Government Code section 12519 states: “The Attorney General shall give his or her opinion in writing to any Member of the Legislature, the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Controller, Treasurer, State Lands Commission, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Insurance Commissioner, any state agency, and any county counsel, district attorney, or sheriff when requested, upon any question of law relating to their respective offices. “The Attorney General shall give his or her opinion in writing to a city prosecuting attorney when requested, upon any question of law relating to criminal matters.” Under this statute, the Attorney General may give opinions only to these specified public officials, and not to private individuals or to public officials who are not listed in the statute. We have asked our legislators and haven't heard back, except from Assemblywoman Akilah Weber's office who said: "Thank you for following up. I contacted the Department of Justice and they suggested that you submit your inquiry to their Public Inquiry Unit. DOJ Public Inquiry Unit (PIU) General Comment, Question or Complaint Form | State of California - Department of Justice - Office of the Attorney General. Thank you, Chevelle Newell-Tate, MPA | District DirectorOffice of Assemblymember Akilah Weber, MD79th Assembly District The request form was promptly submitted and as of yet no response has been received. One request isn't enough. In order for our voices to be heard we need your support. I hope thousands of people can ask - Can California ban a domestic ferret or does our state constitution mean what it says - domestic animals are legal?
545 supporters
Petitioning Assemblyman Kelly Seyarto

Assemblyman Kelly Seyarto - Please introduce a ferret legalization bill

This is our request for Assemblyman Kelly Seyarto to introduce a ferret legalization bill. We are asking him because even before he was elected he listened to and responded to our concerns. Domestic ferrets are domestic animals and domestic ferrets are legal per the state Constitution of California. CIV DIVISION 2. PROPERTY [654 – 1422] There may be ownership of all inanimate things which are capable of appropriation or of manual delivery; of all domestic animals; of all obligations; of such products of labor or skill as the composition of an author, the good will of a business, trade marks and signs, and of rights created or granted by statute. The California Fish and Game Commission gets around this by intentionally misclassifying domestic ferrets as wild animals. §2116. Wild AnimalAs used in this chapter, “wild animal” means any animal of the class Aves (birds), class Mammalia (mammals), class Amphibia (frogs, toads, salamanders), class Osteichtyes (bony fishes), class Monorhina (lampreys), class Reptilia(reptiles), class Crustacea (crayfish), or class Gastropoda (slugs, snails) which is not normally domesticated in this state as determined by the commission. The real reason for the continued prohibition on domestic ferrets is opposition from special interests; The Sierra Club, concerned about another meat-eating pet contributing to global warming, and PETA/HSUS who officially (and rather secretly) oppose pet ownership in general. “We at PETA very much love the animal companions who share our homes, but we believe that it would have been in the animals’ best interests if the institution of “pet keeping”—i.e., breeding animals to be kept and regarded as “pets”—never existed.” Despite the heavy political clout of those two organizations, the average Californian would not support a ferret ban if they knew the real reason behind it. We realize that to succeed any ferret bill would have to prohibit breeding and sale of ferrets in pet stores.  We hope and believe that Assemblyman Seyarto has the courage to stand up for us, "the little guy" and work for our right to own a domestic pet, legal in 48 other states with no record of environmental damage.
214 supporters
Petitioning Arthur Feinstein, Chair Sierra Club California CNRCC (Conservation Committee)

Sierra Club of California - Ferrets are not Wild Animals. Please reconsider your position.

The rights of Californians to own domestic ferrets as pets is being blocked by the Sierra Club and their ignorance regarding domestic ferrets. Without any knowledge, documentation or reports, the Sierra Club of California is on record as opposing ferret legalization in our state. “Sierra Club has long opposed holding wild animals as pets, but particularly when those animals could present a problem if they accidentally or intentionally are introduced into the state’s natural areas. There are many, many examples of exotic critters that have become problems in California after being introduced into the wild. One that I am very familiar with is the bull frog, which has helped push out other amphibian species in certain habitats since its introduction in the 19th century.” Kathryn Phillips < Efforts to have the Sierra Club reevaluate their opposition have so far gone unanswered. Therefore – we are respectfully asking– Dear Sierra Club, please reconsider, or at least document your opposition to ferret legalization. It has long been a mystery to California ferret lovers and others the refusal of California to legalize a domestic pet that is legal in 48 states.  But over the years one theme has been consistent: From blog - May 3rd, 2017 I had a phone conversation with Eric Sklar, the President of the Fish and Game Commission. He explained that their hands are tied on ferrets because it would require a full-blown EIR. He said (and I think he meant this unofficially) that we would have to pay $200,000 but when all finished it would be $600,000. And afterwards the Commission would be sued by environmental groups opposing it. Candidates for state Legislature, the ones we need to introduce a ferret legalization bill are reluctant to jeopardize an endorsement from the Sierra Club. The Sierra Club is the premier environmental organization in the United States. No legislator wants to appear unfriendly to the environment. So, if the Sierra Club is on record as opposing ferret legalization, it usually closes the door for us. The Sierra Club’s position is outdated. It is based on a paradigm that is rapidly shifting. More and more people are familiar with ferrets and the idea that they are wild animals is usually laughed at. We call on the Sierra Club Conservation Committee to take another look at their position as ferrets and acknowledge ferrets are domestic animals. ******************************************************************************************** From the local Sierra Club Chapter: Any state legislation has to be approved by Sierra Club California.  Individual Chapters within  the state cannot take positions on statewide matters without the approval of Sierra Club California.  A change in a policy position must come from the state conservation committee (CNRCC).  You can contact the the Steering Committee members by going to  Richard MillerChapter DirectorSierra Club San Diego8304 Clairemont Mesa Blvd, Ste 101San Diego, CA 92111-1315
4,517 supporters
Petitioning Assemblywoman Tasha Boerner Horvath

Asking Assemblywoman Tasha Boerner Horvath to introduce Ferret Legalization Legislation

When we approached the Encinitas city council the second time on Valentine’s Day 2018 then city councilwoman Tasha Boerner Horvath took us to task (in a polite way.) I explained that we are approaching the city council because we don’t have access to legislators. Governor Jerry Brown’s office let it be known that his office opposed ferret legalization and would make sure, in the words of then-Assemblyman Rocky Chavez’s office: "The reason this bill has not gone forward in years past is Governor Brown has said he would VETO the bill upon arrival to his desk. Apparently, members in the past sessions have approached the subject and received the same line from the Governor." Tasha pointed out that if Jerry Brown, and the Sierra Club oppose ferret legalization, there must be a reason.  She promised to do her research and get back to us. About four months later she did. She called to say that her expert agrees with our position; there is no reason for ferrets to be illegal. She invited us back to the November 28th, 2018 Encinitas city council meeting where she would support our efforts for a ferret legalization proclamation from the Encinitas city council. And she did. On November 6th Tasha Boerner Horvath was elected to the California Assembly for the 76th District. Someone who told us there is No reason for ferrets to be illegal and supported the effort while on the Encinitas city council is now in the Assembly. What a great opportunity to have a legislative sponsor. But Tasha told me that her colleagues at the State Capitol are telling her there aren’t enough votes in the legislature. That is a bizarre statement. Here is the last legislation: SB-89 Wild animals: domestic ferrets. (2003-2004)Senate Floor:   26  votes yes,  2 votes no  and 11 not votingAssembly Floor: 64 votes yes,  2 votes no and  4 not voting Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed the bill on the last possible day. Tasha told me her colleagues said they recommend we continue to work on the local level.  Which makes no sense since this is a statewide issue. The Fish and Game Commission said they won’t legalize ferrets for fear of being sued by “the environmentalists" and recommend we find a legislator. Now legislators are saying they won't introduce a ferret legalization bill because there aren’t enough votes and urge us to continue to work on the local level. Cities can only give us moral support, they can’t change a state law. We know the Sierra Club opposes ferret legalization. They don’t know why they oppose us and they refuse to examine the issue – but they are a powerful political force. Legislators don’t want to vote against ferret legalization, they know they’ll get a lot of negative feed back. So the easiest way is for them to kick it down the road. Don’t allow ferret legalization to be introduced so they won’t have to face either going against the Sierra Club or breaking ferret owner’s hearts. Tasha was elected as because she would be  independent of special interests. From her website: INCREASE TRANSPARENCY AND REDUCE THE INFLUENCE OF BIG MONEY IN POLITICS A strong democracy is based on transparency and accountability. As a Councilmember, I helped increase transparency, inclusion and the voice of our community into our deliberative processes. In the State Assembly, I will continue this tradition to ensure that every step is as transparent as possible and that Sacramento is held accountable to the voice of the people in our district. We are asking Assemblywoman Tasha Boerner Horvath to do the right thing and give California ferret owners the chance to explain to the Legislature why ferrets should be legal in California as they are from Nome to Patagonia.
539 supporters
Petitioning Mayor Mark Arapostathis

Asking La Mesa, CA to be a Sanctuary City for Ferrets

We, the ferret owners all around California, and all over the world humbly and respectfully ask the city of La Mesa to declare itself a sanctuary city for ferrets. We take this unusual step because no one in our state government (and this is a state issue) will give us assistance or explain the reason for banning domestic ferrets in the first place. Ferrets are legal in 48 states. The California Fish and Game Commission has long warned about the dangers to come if ferrets were legal. From the California Department of Fish and Wildlife website: Ferrets have been prohibited in California since 1933. Under Fish and Game Commission regulations, ferrets are currently classified as detrimental mammals because they have not been determined by the Commission to be normally domesticated in California and they pose a threat to native wildlife agriculture, or to public health and safety. Existing law prohibits importation and possession of ferrets in California   The above cites no evidence, no proof and no research to make that claim. And none of these horrible fears have been realized. Ferrets live amongst us in great numbers and no wildlife, agriculture, public health, etc have been harmed.  We have recently put forth two petitions in front of the Fish and Game Commission. May 26th 2016 we formally requested the Fish and Game Commission remove ferrets from the prohibited species list. Staff recommends denying the petition. Given that the proposed action would effectively eliminate the Commission’s authority to regulate ferrets, the potentially significant impacts to wildlife identified in the report, and the inability of the Commission to implement any identified mitigation measures, staff does not recommend removing ferrets from the list of restricted species at this time. However, if the Commission would like to move forward with the preparation of an EIR to further evaluate the potential impacts, staff recommends developing regulations to establish a contract selection process similar to the DFW regulations and proceed with a petitioner-funded EIR. Finally, it is important to note that this issue is not specific to ferrets. Other species that are sometimes kept as domestic pets, such as hedgehogs and sugar gliders (species of possum), are also included in the list of restricted species. Any requests to remove them from the list would require similar considerations. Please note we offered to pay for the EIR at this meeting. We contracted with Sacramento State University in 2010 at a cost of $16,000 to prepare a preliminary EIR in 2010. It was rejected without a CEQA document, we spent another $2,500 on that document. It took the Fish and Game Commission 7 years to read the documents. A second petition for Regulation Change was presented on December 3rd, 2016. It simply asked the Fish and Game Commission to issue permits for ferrets as they had done for neutered male ferrets prior to 1985. The result surprised us: Short DescriptionRequests FGC issue permits for ferrets under certain circumstances. Staff RecommendationsDeny: FGC has previously indicated that it will not authorize wild animals to be possessed as pets. When the Fish and Game Commission referred to our pets as “wild animals” other attendees at that meeting laughed. It seems these days everyone knows that domestic ferrets are not wild animals, and most people have met a ferret. A few days after that meeting Fish and Game President Erik Sklar called me to say that they are indeed aware these are not wild animals and the issue is more complicated that we realized. He also said he was not in favor of the current “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on ferrets but he didn’t know what else they could do. We would be required to fund a full Environmental Impact Report. We would be told the upfront cost would be $250,000 but after it was done it would cost closer to $650,000. He recommended we go to the legislature and get a sponsor, that legislation would not require an EIR. I asked him to put that in writing and after a week he called back to say “No,” and that I should use what he said at that meeting instead. We have been looking for a legislative sponsor since 2004, after Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed a ferret amnesty bill. We have had no luck. The issue is not taken seriously by California legislators. People are still suffering from this law: People who have their ferrets get out have to go through all sorts of trouble to prove their ferrets were relocated out of state People can’t get security clearances, certain licenses or foster parent status if they have ferrets People can’t move to California if they have ferrets. Especially affects people in the military What is the benefit of this law? The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly. Abraham Lincoln It is wrong that we are powerless. All politics are local The city of La Mesa can make a very symbolic statement and perhaps get this in front of a legislator by declaring La Mesa a Ferret Sanctuary City. Note – this petition is in no ways making light of those people whose families have been torn apart by deportations from ICE.  “Sanctuary” is a beautiful word, we wish to use it for our efforts without any disrespect to others.
2,767 supporters