UK & World News
New Hope For Ferret Owners Over New York Ban
Campaigners calling for ferret ownership to be legalised in New York have been given a boost as the city's mayor says he is considering lifting a longstanding ban.
New York residents have been banned from owning ferrets since they were outlawed by former mayor Rudolph Giuliani 15 years ago on the grounds they are considered wild and dangerous animals under the city's health code.
He famously once told one ferret fancier that their "excessive concern with little weasels is a sickness".
Now, after years of lobbying, campaigners appear to be making headway.
Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration has said there could a hearing on ferret ownership by the end of the year.
Underground ferret owners hope they will now finally be able to come out of hiding.
Sheilla Sumayang, who had a ferret in Brooklyn until it died in 2011, said the ban meant even trips to the vet were difficult.
"Every time I brought him to the veterinarian I had to cover his little carrying case so people would think he was a cat," she said.
She plans to adopt two new ferrets if the restriction is lifted.
Although ferret ownership is generally legal across the United States, bans also exist in California and Hawaii.
The US health department says there have been documented cases of "vicious, unprovoked attacks on humans".
But campaigners say ferrets are perfectly safe and only attack when they are starved or abused.