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Press Release
New York City Department of Health
Office of External Affairs
IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Tuesday, June 29, 1999
Contact: Sandra Mullin/John Gadd
(212) 788-5290

HEALTH DEPARTMENT STATEMENT ON
MAINTAINING BAN ON FERRETS IN NYC

The New York City Board of Health voted unanimously today at its quarterly meeting to establish in New York City a list of animals which are prohibited as pets in New York City. The Board of Health is the official body authorized to enact the New York City Health Code. The list voted on today includes ferrets, which have been banned as pets under the Health Code's provision prohibiting ownership of wild animals (Section 161.01) since 1959. Public safety is the significant concern.

Ferrets are known for their unpredictable behavior, and they are prone to vicious, unprovoked attacks on humans. Ferret attacks reported nationwide over time have become notorious for their severity and capriciousness, causing serious injuries to some infants and young children in particular. In New York City's multiple dwelling residences, which are not natural habitats of ferrets, a ferret could crawl through holes in walls or travel along risers or ducts to other apartments, with potentially tragic consequences for the neighbor of a ferret owner.

Given careful consideration of what is known now, it would be irresponsible from a public safety perspective to allow a ferret to be kept as a pet in New York City.

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