In 1999, New York City banned pet ferrets, citing “unpredictable behavior,” “vicious, unprovoked attacks on humans,” and “serious injuries to infants.” That same year, then-mayor Rudy Giuliani took a call on the subject during his weekly radio show that lives on in infamy.
Now, Bill de Blasio wants to reverse the ban. According to the New York Times, NYC’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is backing a repeal, and plans to appeal the Board of Health.
The change was evidently brought on by a petition:
The move was prompted by a ferret enthusiast in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, Ariel Jasper, who petitioned the city to reconsider the ban. Ms. Jasper, a master’s student at Brooklyn College, said she was emboldened by Mr. de Blasio’s outspoken opposition to the use of horse-drawn carriages in Central Park.
“We have a mayor who seems to be a little bit more concerned about animal issues,” she said in an interview. For the new administration, she added, “This is a good issue to show that they’re different” from their predecessors.
The Times contacted Giuliani about his infamous broadcast exchange with David Guthartz, an advocate for ferrets, during which the former mayor called Guthartz “deranged,” and urged him to seek psychological help.
“I had no big ideological involvement; this is something I came to tabula rasa,” Giuliani said, adding that he’s okay with de Blasio overturning the ban “if he’s got the right scientific backup for it.”