FYI - the following is the HSUS position statement on ferrets I received by
The Humane Society of the United States
2100 L Street NW, Washington, DC 20037
(202) 452-1100 FAX (202) 778-6132
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is the largest
animal-protection organization in the country, representing over 1.6
million constituents. The HSUS recognizes that domestic ferret[s] have
become increasingly poplar [sic] as pets in recent years.
In 1990, the United States Department of Agriculture licensed a rabies
vaccine for domestic ferrets. However, because the incubation period for
rabies in domestic ferrets is still unknown, public health officials
recommend that any ferret who bites should be euthanized and analyzed for
Due to past incidences of ferrets severely or even fatally biting children,
The HSUS recommends that children, particularly infants, never be left
unsupervised with a ferret.
Ferrets may not be the best companion animal for many people. Their nocturnal
habits, curiosity, and high activity level make ferrets often difficult to
contain and control. Keeping ferrets in a humane environment is a challenge,
because they should not be confined to a cage all the time, yet need close
supervision when allowed out of their enclosures.
Animal shelters that receive ferrets should develop their own individual
policies on whether to place ferrets for adoption. This determination may
depend on a variety of factors, including local ordinances that may restrict
ferret ownership, and the cooperation of knowledgeable ferret owners to
assist with proper placement.
It is imperative that all pet ferrets are spayed and neutered. Not only does
sterilization diminish the offensive odor intact ferrets produce, but it also
improves temperament and guarantees that ferret overpopulation does not
become a problem, as it has with cats and dogs.
In short, The HSUS does not believe that ferrets are suitable pets for most
people. That is not to say that a ferret cannot be kept humanely as a
companion animal, but it takes a special individual to adequately meet a
ferret's special needs and provide humane care.
[Posted in FML issue 1231]