ENCINITAS — Fans of domestic ferrets found Encinitas unfriendly to their cause last month.
Supporters of the animal, which are banned as pets in California, had asked Encinitas officials to support a resolution backing their efforts to legalize them.
But the City Council declined to support the resolution, with four of the five members expressing opposition to legalizing ferrets, which they said could potentially become an invasive species if a domestic ferret were to escape.
“They’re cute, but I believe in science,” Deputy Mayor Jody Hubbard said. “I don’t feel comfortable … it’s not something I want to support.”
Hubbard, Mayor Catherine Blakespear and Councilman Joe Mosca echoed the concerns voiced by residents Dennis and Kathleen Lees, former traffic and public safety commissioner Christina Simokat and environmental commissioner James Wang, who all said that California’s ban is meant to protect the ecosystem from being overrun by the animals.
The speakers pointed to other invasive species, such as the rodent nutria and the invasive plant caulerpa, and the havoc those wreaked once introduced.
Pat Wright, a La Mesa resident and the founder of Legalize Ferrets, spoke at the March 20 meeting and said that the opposition to ferrets is rooted in politics, not science.
“None of these speakers brought any ‘science’ to the meeting. Because their science is nonexistent,” Wright said. “Their politics is quite apparent.”
California and Hawaii are the only states that ban domestic ferrets as pets. California’s ban has been in place since 1933.
Councilman Tony Kranz was the lone voice of support of the measure on the dais. He said that the likelihood of a feral ferret family taking root in Encinitas is “very, very low.”
Also, he said, the resolution didn’t legalize ferrets in Encinitas, just voiced support for ferret advocates to state their case to the state legislature.
“We are endorsing them having the opportunity to make that case,” Kranz said. “I’m prepared to let the legislature decide.”