De Blasio to End New York City's Long-Standing Ferret Ban

Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration just confirmed its most important decision yet: the legalization of ferret ownership in New York City.

The New York Times reports that the city's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene wants to repeal former Mayor Rudy Giuliani's ban, which prohibited the private ownership of ferrets in New York City. When instituted in 1999, the ban generated an uproar among ferret fans, one of whom Giuliani insulted during a bizarre live radio show.

"There's something deranged about you," Giuliani told the caller. "The excessive obsession you have with ferrets is something you should examine with a therapist, not with me… There is something really, really sad about you. You need someone to help you. This obsessive concern with little weasels is a sickness."

Despite protests from ferret-lovers, the Bloomberg administration supported the ban, which a 2002 State Supreme Court ruling upheld. But now, as long as certain requirements for spaying—including the removal of ferret's anal glands—and vaccination are put in place, the city's health department recommends repealing the ban.

The Times obtained a memo from the department, highlighting the various pros and cons of ferret ownership.

On the pro side: "Evidence shows ferrets do not bite more frequently or severely than other pets the same size."

On the con side: "There may be injuries, especially to infants."

"We have a mayor who seems to be a little bit more concerned about animal issues," Ariel Jasper, Brooklyn College student who petitioned the city to repeal the ban, told the Times, adding that, "This is a good issue to show that they're different [from Giuliani and Bloomberg]."

As for Giuliani, the famous ferret-hater said he supports the repeal if "[de Blasio]'s got the right scientific backup for it."

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