A group of ferret advocates plan to ask the Santa Clarita City Council to help legalize their furry friends at the meeting on Tuesday.
Angel City Ferret Club, which has focused on their cause in Los Angeles County cities since 2015, will urge the city to issue a proclamation in support of ferret legalization in California.
“There is a large population of ferret owners in (Santa Clarita) who are very passionate about changing this law,” Angel City Ferret Club Founder Megan Mitchell said. “We know at the local level they cannot overturn state law, but the city can support the issue.”
The club’s goal is to sway public opinion, advocate for ferrets and ferret owners and support their legalization in the L.A. area, according to their site.
Currently, California and Hawaii are the only two states who do not allow ferrets to be owned as pets.
Owners are charged with a misdemeanor and can be fined $1,000, face six months in jail and the ferret will either be moved out of state or euthanized, the group cites.
Fear of rabies and impact to wildlife is state officials’ main case for keeping the animals illegal, according to Mitchell, but studies have been conducted to debunk these concerns.
The founder began advocating for California’s legalization of ferrets after moving to the state from Georgia.
“What really got me into advocating was seeing the bureaucratic runaround the issue had gotten,” she said.
The animal is especially good for Los Angeles and apartment life, she said, because they are easy to train, do not make noise and have the social personality of a dog or cat.
Legalize Ferrets, a statewide movement that Angel City Ferret Club works with, has urged other cities to do similarly, attending Culver City and La Mesa council meetings asking them to issue proclamations.
La Mesa has issued a proclamation and Culver City voted to add it to their agenda, according to Mitchell.
Ferret Club members have also reached out to state Assembly members, including Santa Clarita’s 38th District Assemblyman Dante Acosta.
“We’ve gone down to the local level after failing to secure a legislative sponsor for the past 13 years,” Mitchell said. “Many Assembly members are sympathetic to the issue and think it should be overturned. However, we frequently are told it doesn’t align with their legislative platform, therefore leaving us without representation.”