If a Giuliani-era ban gets overturned, the city could soon be home to many more weasels... of the animal kind. The city's small but vocal ferret community has been amping up their lobbying game after the de Blasio administration said it would look into repealing the city's ban on the furry mammals. Now, it seems they'll finally get to plead their case: a public hearing with the Board of Health about a proposal to allow ferrets has been scheduled for January 21st.
"I think of New York City as enlightened and progressive, and to have a rule in place that is so backward—I don't understand it," a member of ferret lobbying group New York Ferrets fumed to the Times. "People see it as a dumb, silly issue: 'Who cares, weasels?" explained illicit ferret owner Veronica F. "There's a notion that we all have some sort of mental problem." You can thank Mayor Giuliani for that reputation, who once told a ferret owner, "This excessive concern with little weasels is a sickness... You should go consult a psychologist."
The hearing aside, ferret lovers may face an uphill battle with the Bloomberg-appointed Board of Health, who don't seem eager to live in a city "teeming" with ferrets. "The issue of ferrets has come before the board several times during my tenure," said member Dr. Lynne D. Richardson. "I'm trying to understand why this is something we would support. What's the upside?" For the people who love ferrets, the upside is clear: they're affectionate, snuggly and not all that different from more traditional household pets.