The California Fish and Game Commission held their bi-monthly meeting April 26-27 in Van Nuys and our petition requesting they actually issue permits for ferrets (as they can by law) was item #17 on April 26th.
We did a lot of preparation for this. An open letter to the Commissioners was published. Letters of support was sought from all members of the Legislature’s Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee. Ads were run on Facebook and Bing. We made signs and encouraged as many people to come as possible.
A few days prior to the meeting, Fish and Game wildlife research staff published their recommendations:
|Short Description||Staff Recommendations|
|Requests FGC issue permits for ferrets under certain circumstances.||Deny: FGC has previously indicated that it will not authorize wild animals to be possessed as pets.|
It takes a lot of something to call our ferrets “wild animals” and personally I found that line to be very offensive.
So we put out the word, email or call the Fish and Game Commission and let them know you’re not happy. And apparently, many people did.
About 20 ferret lovers came to the meeting, but since we didn’t know when our issue would be heard it was an all-day affair some people had to leave.
And we listened to a lot of testimony on bull frogs as invasive species and gps for hunting dogs. And finally, at about 3 in the afternoon they got to our issue.
President Sklar limited our comments to 1 minute per person which I thought terribly unfair. Yes, we’d heard a lot of people testify, many not making that much sense on other issues.
13 people signed up to testify. Many of the people who testified on other issues testified on our behalf. Only Bill Gaines from the California Waterfowl Association testified against ferrets. He waited outside the room and then came in last minute to say how ferrets were introduced into New Zealand and how much damage they did.
Then they went on to other petitions. And adjourned. What is going on?
I was there and I didn’t see it . But apparently they lumped all the petitions together and voted them all down.
But people aren’t laughing at us. They’re laughing at the Fish and Game Commission for insisting ferrets are wild animals. Despite all the facts to the contrary, everyone, including people at the Fish and Game Commission understand these are domestic animals.
Big Surprise at the End
Fish and Game President Erik Sklar called me on Friday afternoon to schedule a talk. I have his permission to say that much. But I don’t think he would call me if there weren’t major cracks in ferret ban.
I’m back to thinking what a big party we’ll have once this is over!