If you ask, 'What states are ferrets legal in?' you should know that most states allow ferret ownership. In fact, 48 out of the 50 states allow ferret ownership. In some states (such as Georgia and Illinois), it is legal to own a ferret, but breeding ferrets requires a license. Some states that allow ferrets have jurisdictions that ban ferrets within city or county limits.
There are only two states along with the District of Columbia that ban ferret ownership. These states are California and Hawaii. It is illegal for ferrets to be sold in pet shops or adopted. It is also illegal to bring your ferret with you if you move to California or Hawaii from another state.
Owning a ferret as a pet was made illegal in California in 1933. Over the years, many ferret lovers have lobbied the state legislature to make ferrets legal to own. However, the legislature has not budged on its stance for nearly 100 years.
Hawaii is the only state in America free of the rabies virus. Ferrets are banned in Hawaii because they are known to carry the rabies virus. It is extremely unlikely that ferrets in captivity catch this virus, as they would have to come into contact with a rabid wild animal. As Hawaii does not have rabid wild animals, many ferret lovers claim that the state ban on the animal does not make sense.
In addition to the two states that ban ferret ownership, several cities and counties ban ferret ownership. New York City and Washington D.C. are the two most notable jurisdictions that ban ferrets. The state of New York allows ferret ownership, so ferret owners could keep their pets as long as they live outside the five boroughs.
There are various reasons for ferret bans. As previously mentioned, Hawaii has banned ferret ownership due to fears of the animals spreading rabies to the state. California has banned ferrets due to the havoc that escaped ferrets (being effective predators) can wreak upon native wildlife. Other jurisdictions have banned ferret ownership because ferrets have a reputation for biting people if handled incorrectly or exposed to strangers. Some jurisdictions have banned ferret ownership due to a combination of these factors.
|District of Columbia||Banned|
|New Hampshire||Minor Regulations|
|New Jersey||Minor Regulations|
|New Mexico||No Regulations|
|New York||Minor Regulations||Excluding NYC, which has banned them as pets|
|North Carolina||No Regulations|
|North Dakota||No Regulations|
|Rhode Island||Minor Regulations|
|South Carolina||No Regulations|
|South Dakota||Minor Regulations|
|West Virginia||No Regulations|