City may make weasels legal

Want a ferret?

An amended city law introduced by City Councilmembers Dan Niziolek (10th Ward) and Dean Zimmerman (6th Ward) would make it legal to keep a ferret as a pet.

Niziolek said he introduced the amendments at the request of city Animal Shelter Manager Bob Marotto. In addition to making the furry creatures legal, the amendments also regulate the animal's rabies vaccination and licensing. The fee to license a ferret would be $25.

Niziolek said ferrets have been illegal in Minneapolis because there has been no rabies vaccination available for them. Now that a vaccination has been created, he said, the city should change the law beacause many people want ferrets.

A Southwest ferret owner -- who asked to remain anonymous -- echoed Niziolek's sentiment. She said it would be nice to not have to sneak around with her two ferret pets, Phil and Izzy.

Merriam Webster's Dictionary describes the common black-footed ferret as "a rare weasel (Mustela nigripes) of western North American prairies having a yellowish coat, dark feet and facial mask, and a dark-tipped tail."

The albino ferret is described as "a domesticated usually albino animal (Mustela putorius furo) that is descended from the European polecat. An active and persistent searcher."

Before making a decision on the proposed amendments, the Council's Public Safety and Regulatory Committee will host a public hearing Wednesday, Aug. 11 at 1:30 p.m. at Room 317 City Hall, 350 S. 5th St.